Chauffeur drivers should be aware that Northern Ireland’s environment minister has outlined his proposals to change the drink-driving laws.
Alex Attwood says he wants to cut the blood alcohol limit from the current level of 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml. There would be another, lower, limit of 20mg/100ml for young drivers and people who earn their living from driving such as chauffeur drivers.
Mr Attwood also proposes; to give police powers to randomly stop drivers without the need for reasonable suspicion, in certain circumstances, removing drivers’ right to opt for a blood or urine sample instead of a breath test. Other plans include an automatic referral of offenders to an approved drink-drive rehabilitation scheme.
The minister said that while much progress had been made towards eliminating a drink-drive culture, more work needed to be done. “This is totally unacceptable and I am determined to do what I can to tackle this issue once and for all,” Mr Attwood added.
Such a change would put Northern Ireland on a different legal standing to the rest of the UK who may look to follow suit. Julie Townsend Deputy Chief Executive of Brake is in favour of the proposals, “We actually want a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving,” she said.
“We would like to see a 20mg limit across the UK and we have got evidence that the majority of drivers would actually support that tougher stance. And the reason we want a zero tolerance approach is that it sends out a very clear message that it’s none for the road.”
Director of Chauffeur Plan Insurance Grant Georgiades states, “Whether the proposals are introduced or not we hope and trust that our large book of chauffeur insurance clients value their own the lives, the lives of other road users and their ability to earn a livelihood far too much to contravene the drink driving laws and risk driving whilst in a un-fit state.”
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