Northern Ireland is set to adopt a two-tier drink-driving system from 2018, which will see learner and professional drivers facing a limit of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – down from the current limit of 80mg/100ml.

Under the new bill, Northern Ireland will drop the limits down to 50mg/100ml, in line with Scotland, with the lower limit for new and professional drivers.

The current limit in England and Wales is 80mg/100ml.

“Last year 74 people lost their lives on our roads. We cannot, if at all possible, let this carnage continue,” said Northern Ireland environment minister Mark Durkan.

“What I have done in this bill is to get to the root causes of the problem. That means tougher drink drive laws,” he added.