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Transport secretary rules out lowering drink-drive limit

Date: 07 December 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said he won't cut the drink-drive limit to be in line with Scotland.

Scotland reduced the limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 milliliters of blood to 50mg in December 2014, and there have been renewed calls from road safety experts for England to follow suit ever since.

But Grayling, who was speaking to the Evening Standard earlier this week, said a change in the law would lead police to the wrong offenders.

"We have a drink-drive problem, but it's not people who had a glass of wine at the pub, it's people who systematically flout the law," he told the newspaper. "We have a fairly thinly stretched police force and we should concentrate on catching the serious offenders."

According to road safety charity Brake, drink driving causes 240 deaths and more than 8,000 injuries a year, costing the authorities £800m a year, while a poll conducted by the organisation found that 77% of motorists are in favour of a lower legal limit, in line with Scotland.

Grayling, who took over as the transport secretary earlier this year after Theresa May became prime minister, also ruled out implementing pay-as-you-go road charging in the future, saying that tolls "are only acceptable for new infrastructure such as bridges."

Currently, the only toll road in the UK is the privately-owned M6 Toll, which stretches for 27 miles between Cannock and Coleshill in the Midlands, and charges motorists £5.50 per journey.

He also quashed any notion of a rise in the speed limit on motorways to 80mph, which would bring the UK in line with the rest of Europe. "It's not on the agenda at the moment," he said, adding minsters are also watchful of authorities that he suspected are using bus lane cameras as 'cash cows'.