HC Deb 09 June 1998 vol 313 c868
30. Mr. Robert Syms (Poole)

If he will make a statement about his plans to reform drink-driving laws. [43258]

The Minister of Transport (Dr. Gavin Strang)

We recently consulted on a range of proposals further to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by drink driving, and will make a statement in due course.

Mr. Syms

As the key to reducing the number of deaths on our roads is a crackdown on hard-core drink drivers and the tough and rigorous enforcement of existing laws and limits, do the Government intend to reduce the blood alcohol limit from 80 mg to 50 mg—especially as Downing street has made its concerns known?

Dr. Strang

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: we certainly need to crack down on hard-core drivers who continue to drink heavily before operating a motor vehicle. In our consultation document—the consultation has concluded—we propose a range of measures that we believe will reduce the death toll on our roads as a result of drink driving. I am sure that all hon. Members agree that we need an effective package of measures that will drive down further the number of people who are killed as a result of drink driving.

Mr. Lawrence Cunliffe (Leigh)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that many drivers would prefer not to have alcoholic drinks if cheaper soft drinks and non-alcoholic beers and lagers were available? The 400 per cent. mark-up on non-alcoholic lager is an outrageous rip-off and an absolute disgrace. We should consider making representations to breweries on reducing the price of such drinks. That would save us having to investigate this issue, although many of us think that it is high time that it was sent to the Office of Fair Trading.

Dr. Strang

My hon. Friend raises an interesting point, and I shall draw it to the attention of my hon. Friend the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs. There are still far too many people who are not complying with existing legislation, so it is vital that we achieve more compliance.