THE Government is missing an opportunity to save lives by refusing to review the drink drive limit, one of North Yorkshire's most senior officers has said.

A bill presented to the House of Lords earlier this month proposed reducing the drink drive limit from 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath to 22mg per 100ml.

The bill also suggested the lowering of blood alcohol limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, in a move similar to the changes introduced in Scotland, which saw the number of offences fall by more than 12 per cent in the first nine months.

However, Transport Minister Andrew Jones, who is also MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, this week said there would be no review or change of the drink drive limits in England and Wales.

York Press:

Andrew Jones MP, left, and Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, the National Police Chief's Council's lead for motorcycling and biking advisory scheme BikeSafe, and chair of 95 Alive in North Yorkshire, has frequently called for a reduction to the current drink drive limits.

He said: "I am extremely disappointed that despite the evidence going back some years the Government have overlooked this opportunity to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads of England and Wales.

"I will continue to work hard to try and persuade government officials to change their current stance.

"It seems that despite very encouraging developments in relation to drug driving legislation in the last twelve months there is a reluctance to make everyone safer on the roads of this country by reducing the limit for alcohol."

A statement from road safety charity Brake said they were also disappointed with the decision, which it said could lead to a change in attitude among motorists.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: "Early indications show a clear reduction in offences in Scotland which can only make our roads safer and mean fewer devastating preventable deaths and injuries.

"This would be a useful step in moving towards a complete zero tolerance of drink driving, which is the only way to make our roads safe."

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The recent campaign to cut drink and drug driving in North Yorkshire over Christmas and New Year saw a 20 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of arrests, while last summer's campaign saw 111 motorists arrested in 30 days, 40 per cent of whom were more than twice the legal limit.