Motorists back tougher punishments for drink drivers

12.00 | 24 July 2012 | | 7 comments

80% of motorists say those who repeatedly drink drive should have their vehicles seized and sold or scrapped, according to a poll carried by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

The poll also reveals that 50% of respondents think this should happen to drivers several times over the limit; 66% want to the drink drive limit reduced (with most of these saying it should be lowered to a maximum of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood); and 28% think Britain should have a zero-tolerance policy.

People convicted of drink driving generally lose their licence for a year and receive an average fine of £240. According to the IAM poll, 57% of respondents think that punishments for drink drivers should be tougher, and 38% said punishments should be much tougher.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “The support is there for tougher treatment of drink drivers.

“Not only do the majority want a lower limit – they also want tougher punishment for those who break the law, especially the worst offenders who present the greatest danger to other road users, their passengers and themselves.

“Our poll shows a desire to see more effective drink drive levels as well as much greater consistency of enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing, which reflects the level of danger associated with drinking drivers.”

For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.


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    As Liz from London points out and as I have written before, we can have all of the laws that can be passed but with no roads policing units in place or a woeful lack of them where there are at least some, then people will take the chance and innocent people will die.

    Re Dave of Leeds comments. Where people know they have a dependency then they should not be taking the chance. It is of no consolation to a grieving parent that the person who killed their child was a person with an alcohol dependency, and although a Christian I would struggle to believe that that person should not be punished first and then rehabilitated. After all, punishments for killing people on the roads hardly equate to the loss of life that they have caused.

    Alan Hale, South Gloucestershire.
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    All comment and discussion on this topic helps to raise the issue. However what really worries me is the number of drivers who take the chance as they know there are fewer police on the roads and the likelihood of getting caught is so low! Harsher penalties make no difference if they are not getting stopped in the first place!

    Liz, London
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    The news piece mentions vehicles being seized and sold rather than just being scrapped – this would counter any argument about scrapping perfectly roadworthy quality cars. However I agree detail would need to be explored should there be a change in policy/law. The key thing has to be about reducing the numbers of drink drive incidents. I think the earlier comment about doing more work around the route cause of alcohol misuse is very important and offers potential benefits for road safety as well as wider health.

    James Gibson, Leicestershire
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    I don’t think this is sloppy thinking – it is what it is, a poll that explores people’s initial reaction to an idea. The detail and implications are what are worked out if or when policy/new laws are drawn up and debated, which is the purpose of the consultation that then takes place.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Less useful than if the questions were shown – subtle wording to achieve the desired answers is commonplace, whether for political or financial reasons.

    Worse – unfair. Would a wealthy man who happened to be driving an old banger because his Bentley was being serviced suffer the loss only of the old banger, but a poor man who by scrimping and saved or used HP to get car of his dreams should suffer a much greater loss?

    Also – someone driving a friend or parent’s car – would the friend or parent lose the car? Or if the driver has several cars which car – would the authorities take their pick? What about hire or lease cars not owned by the driver?

    Seizure and sale is one thing – scrapping a viable – and even more so – quality car would be economic lunacy. Who dreams up these ideas?

    Sloppy thinking by all concerned.

    Idris Francis
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    People will still drink drive if the penalties are harsher. If all the people who drink drive were really worried about getting caught surely the drink drive figures would be lower?

    Raising awareness about the dangers, and education, before people learn to drive is the key to making a difference.

    A lot of people have the “it won’t happen to me” attitude and we need to look at changing that

    Mike, from (London)
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    Perhaps we should look at the reasons behind why people are drink driving in cases where the offender is well over the limit or over the limit at unusual times of the day. While there’s no excuse for drink driving people who have alcohol dependancy issues aren’t going to be helped by harsher penalties. Could rehabilitation be an alternative to prosecution?

    Dave, Leeds
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