13 Aug 2008

Call for immediate cut to drink-driving limit

6:07 pm on 13 August 2008

Alcohol health groups are calling for the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers to be lowered immediately.

An inter-agency committee on drugs has made 73 recommendations in an action plan to reduce the social and economic impact of alcohol abuse.

Under the plan, the Ministry of Transport would evaluate the benefits of lowering the limit from 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 0.05.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams says strong evidence already exists that a lower limit would bring down the road toll and risk of crashes, and she cannot understand why the Government is dragging its heels on the matter.

Another proposal is to impose further limits on the amount of alcohol young people get from their parents.

Moves are already under way to cut back the alcohol supplied to young people by their parents and other adults through changes to the Sale of Liquor Act.

This plan goes further, asking the Alcohol Advisory Council and the Ministry of Health to develop a national campaign to change social attitudes.

The Ministry of Health says the action plan is in its embryonic stage and is being discussed with interested parties.