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New Proposals to tackle Dangerous Drivers

20 November 2008

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has announced a range of new proposals to tackle drink and drug drivers and other dangers on Britain 's roads.

RoadSafe welcomes this major new consultation which sets out plans to help the police better enforce against drug and drink driving, as well as exploring whether there is a need to change the law on drug driving or on the drink drive limit.

RoadSafe also welcomes the open mind expressed by DfT on the question of reducing the legal alcohol limit and looks forward to being actively involved in this discussion.

The consultation includes proposals on a range of issues:

1 in 5 drivers killed in road accidents may have an impairing drug in their system, according to independent research. Therefore, we will explore whether a new offence should be created to bring drug driving more into line with drink driving, by making it illegal to drive after taking a drug which is both illegal and impairing. We are also planning a major new publicity campaign on drug driving and are proposing to help the police better enforce the current drug driving law through improved training and equipment.

Further proposals on drink-driving include:

  • A proposal to remove an outdated option for drivers caught moderately above the drink drive limit to request a second test by a doctor and potentially fall back under the limit while waiting for them to arrive. Today's more accurate breath testing equipment makes this no longer necessary.
  • To improve enforcement DfT is also providing £2 million to fund the introduction of new digital breath testing equipment, to help free up police resources, as well as helping the police introduce targeted drink drive checkpoints to strengthen deterrence.
  • *We are proposing to make careless driving a fixed penalty offence, which will enable the police to enforce against careless drivers who admit fault with a minimum of bureaucracy, freeing up police resources. The fixed penalty would be a £60 fine and 3 penalty points.
  • On speeding, we propose to introduce a higher fixed penalty of 6 penalty points for drivers who exceed the speed limit by a dangerous, and very large margin - 20mph or more above most speed limits - because research suggests this will be a strong deterrent. Speed kills - it is a factor in 29% of fatal accidents - and extreme speeders are more likely to be involved in an accident, with more severe consequences when they are. We do not propose to change the level of fines.
  • DfT is proposing a major review of remedial training and testing schemes to ensure consistency and common standards.

The full consultation document is available here

Several independent research reports are also published today on the Department for Transport website at: The Department for Transport website