HAS Britain been too soft over the drink drive limit?
The publication of a report by the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport certainly seems to point that way.
The report states that alcohol impairment continues to be a major contributory factor to crashes. Almost 20 fatal collisions per month in 2013, surprisingly the most recent figures available, were related to drink driving.
Following the report, road safetyand breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says the UK Government must now accept that the drink drive limit in England and Wales is too high. GEM calls for an immediate commitment to reducing the limit, combined with increased police activity to enforce the law.
GEM has nailed its colours to its mast in the belief that reducing the limit from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml would save around 25 lives and 95 serious injuries every year.
Maybe so in an ideal world but there is the thorny question of enforcement in the wake of recent police cuts.
On the positive side there is excellent technology available to make simple, effective roadside breath tests a reality. After all, it is now 11 years since parliament made provision for roadside evidential breath-testing, which would greatly increase the number of tests carried out by police officers, and reduce the vast burden of paperwork which accompanies every positive breath test.
The fact is that drink driving remains a significant threat to the safety of all road users, and it goes without saying that the Government needs to take a strong lead to help prevent the unnecessary death, injury and misery that's too often a consequence of someone's irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
The figures speak for themselves because in 2014 37,853 people were convicted of driving with excess alcohol in their blood but thousands more are believed to have escaped prosecution, because delays in transporting them from the scene to a police station, allowing their blood alcohol concentration to fall.
But the grim fact remains that one in six road deaths involve drivers over the limit.