The most dangerous drink drivers will now have to pass a medical before they are allowed back on the roads under a change in the law announced last week (2 May) by Stephen Hammond, road safety minister.
The changes, which come into force from 1 June 2013, mean that high risk offenders will need to pass a medical confirming they are no longer alcohol dependent at the end of their disqualification, before they are permitted to start driving again.
Currently, all high risk offenders must pass a medical examination before they can be issued with a driving licence following their disqualification. However, drivers can start driving as soon as they have applied for their driving licence.
The DfT says that evidence suggests that some high risk offenders delay their medical in order to continue driving.
The changes also mean that drink drivers who refuse to give permission for a blood sample to be analysed will now be classified as high risk offenders.
Stephen Hammond said: “Drink drivers are a menace and it is right that we do everything we can to keep the most high risk offenders off the road.
“These changes will tighten up the law on drink driving and will mean that the most dangerous offenders will have to prove they are no longer dependent on alcohol before they are allowed to get back behind the wheel.
“The new measures will also see those drink drivers who obstruct the police by refusing to allow their blood samples to be analysed treated the same as other high risk offenders.”
Endorsing the move, Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Persistent drink drivers are a menace on our roads and these new rules will be welcomed by the law abiding majority.
“Numbers of repeat offenders are still far too high and the Government should urgently consider bringing in a vehicle forfeiture scheme like that in Scotland. This has been a success with the strong sanction of having your car sold acting as a real deterrent.
“Enhanced drink drive rehabilitation courses may also be an option for these problem drivers but ultimately their selfishness means that they deserve the strongest possible punishment.”
Click here for more information.