Should the Drink Drive Limit be lowered for Young Drivers?

May 18, 2015

A poll carried out by car insurance company Direct Line has found that nearly half of adults believe that the drink-drive limit should be lower for young adults and new drivers. A further 36% believe that the limit should be zero for all drivers and this is interesting considering the changes in Scotland at the end of last year where the drink driving limit was lowered.


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the current permitted limit of alcohol in the blood is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, for drivers of all ages. In Scotland it is lower where the limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

The survey carried out by the insurance company took into account the responses of 2,002 people and 50% of all of those questioned said that the limit should be lower or zero for young drivers and those who have just passed their test and most support for this was in the North East of England with the least support in the South East. People in Northern Ireland were most in support of zero alcohol for all drivers whilst the North East and London were found to be less keen.

The issue of alcohol and driving is something which doesn’t vary with age, in as much as, it is illegal for all people of all ages to be over the limit and therefore, splitting the drink drive limit dependent on age seems a decision which may just cause contention and perhaps resentment for young drivers who are as responsible as older drivers when it comes to alcohol and driving.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have one of the most permissive drink drive limits in the whole of Europe and so popular vote suggesting it should be lowered is something the government must consider. With Scotland making the decision to reduce the limit in December, there has been much talk of the rest of the United Kingdom doing the same but as yet, nothing has been confirmed or discussed publicly.

Even the smallest amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive yet a certain amount is allowed, which is a concern. The risks of being over the limit include fines of up to £5,000, driving bans of a minimum of 12 months and a criminal record. Beyond this you could put yourself and others at risk and drinking under the influence of alcohol often results in serious crashes and fatalities, with 13% of all deaths reported as due to drink driving.

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