HC Deb 19 December 2003 vol 416 cc46-7W
Mrs. May

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Department spent on advertising the Drink Drive Campaign in each year since 1997. [144830]

Mr. Darling

Campaign advertising costs for drink drive since 1997 are as follows:

1997–98 1,334,000
1998–99 1,404,000
1999–2000 2,106,000
2000–01 1,700,000
2001–02 1,346,000
2002–03 1,644,000
2003–04 12,150,000
1estimated outurn

Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research he(a) has commissioned and (b) plans to commission on the reasons for the number of drink drive fatalities. [144553]

Mr. Jamieson

Estimates of drink drive deaths and injuries are produced annually and routine information is obtained from Coroners on the level of alcohol in road accident fatalities. These enable monitoring of trends.

For the purpose of developing road safety publicity we continue to gauge attitudes and behaviour in omnibus research carried out throughout the year and also in qualitative research with targeted groups on both the effectiveness of various creative strategies and on attitudes and behaviour towards drink driving.

Our road safety research programme has included many projects on alcohol related accidents. Most recent

Proposal Action taken
1. Introducing powers to authorise breath testing without prior suspicion. Not proceeded with. A proposal to give the police powers to carry out targeted breathtesting was included in the Road Safety Strategy. In the event, this was deemed unnecessary as the police already undertake intelligence-led enforcement against drink-driving.
2. Where Bail Act powers are used to prevent driving between an offence and a court appearance, reducing the final period of any disqualification by any period by the amount of time that the driver was banned as part of his or her bail. Not proceeded with. This was not an issue which attracted significant comment in the public response.
3. Streamlining prosecution proceedings by conditional fixed penalty offers to drivers not to take court proceedings and by evidential roadside breath testing. Conditional fixed penalty offers were not proceeded with. This proposal received little support in the public response. The Government agree with those who consider that the seriousness of drink-driving offences should require a court appearance.
The Government are planning to introduce legislation giving the police powers to carry out evidential roadside breathtesting as soon as parliamentary time permits.
4. Reducing the drink-drive limit to 50mg/100ml The Government have decided not to lower the legal limit.
5. In the event of a 50mg limit, whether the current 12 months" period of disqualification should be retained or lesser penalties applied to offences in the 50–80mg range. No action taken in view of decision on 4.
6. Introducing a specially low drink-drive limit for novice drivers. Not proceeded with. The Government consider that allowing drivers to drink more once they cease to be novices might convey the wrong message.
7. The effectiveness of drink-drive rehabilitation courses and ideas for extending or modifying the scheme or the range of offenders to be sent on courses. A permanent drink-drive rehabilitation scheme was introduced throughout Great Britain from 1 January 2000. The Government are planning to introduce legislation enabling courts to refer offenders to driver retraining and improvement courses as soon as parliamentary time permits.
8. Promoting self-test breathalysers. The Government expressed doubts about the value of such devices in the consultation document and, in the light of the response, sees no reason actively to promote them.