Scene of a car crash, UK

Pressure to cut BAC limits in England and Wales as France toughens limit for young drivers

  • June 26, 2015

England and Wales are under pressure to match Scotland’s successful move last year from a 0.8g/l general blood alcohol limit for drivers to 0.5. Meanwhile the French government will officially lower the limit for novice drivers from 0.5 to 0.2 from 1 July.

Victoria Martin, a senior police inspector at the Police Federation of England and Wales, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “We would like to see a lower drink-drive limit, as most other European countries have, as well as Scotland, which saw a marked reduction in failed breathalyser tests as soon as the law was changed last year.”

In Northern Ireland, a Road Traffic Amendment Bill is already working its way through the legislative process. It proposes a lowered general BAC limit of 0.5, and 0.2 for novice and some commercial drivers.

France’s new limit for young and novice drivers will apply to those who have held their license for three years or less. The measure was announced in January in response to the first rise in deaths in France for more than a decade.

The policy of cutting BAC limits is backed by analysis from ETSC’s Swiss member BFU. The organisation says that drink driving deaths in Switzerland fell faster than deaths overall since the country reduced its drink drive limit from 0.8 to 0.5 ten years ago.