Call for change in drink-drive law should go further, says mother
A CALL for the Government to slash the legal drink-drive limit by nearly half does not go far enough - according to a Suffolk mother whose son was killed by a drunken motorist.
Jayne Jones, of Orwell Road, Stowmarket, wants to see zero tolerance legislation adopted in relation to drinking and driving.
However, she did welcome an expert report which urges the Government to cut the legal limit from the current 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to just 50mg.
Leading academic and legal expert Sir Peter North claimed the move would save hundreds of lives a year.
Mrs Jones’ 20-year-old son Aiden was killed by Nicholas Kemp, 36, of Eastward Place, Stowmarket, on the B1113 at Badley Hill between Needham Market and Stowmarket on May 1 last year.
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Kemp was nearly twice the drink-drive limit when his Citroen C5 - which was on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend - hit Mr Jones’ Ford Focus.
Responding to Sir Peter’s recommendations Mrs Jones said: “I think the drink driving limit should be zero – no alcohol at all if you are driving.
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“If you don’t have any alcohol in you, surely you have got to be safer to drive.
“The report is a good thing. It’s got to help, but you have still got these people who don’t worry (about drink-driving) anyway. It’s not going to make any difference to some people.”
Mrs Jones also gave an insight into what life has been like since Aiden died.
She said: “It’s just totally devastated the whole family. Our lives are never going to be the same. We are always going to have that one person who is missing. We are the people with a life sentence.”
Kemp was given a five-and-a-half year prison sentence by Ipswich Crown Court in January after admitting death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
He had previously been convicted of drink-driving following a crash in Kent in April 2000, which occurred in almost exactly the same circumstances.
Sir Peter North’s report also recommended that the 12-month driving ban - automatic for those who exceed the current limit - should be maintained for the new 50mg limit.
Sir Peter, who was asked by former transport secretary Lord Adonis to review drink and drug-driving laws, also called for police to be given greater powers to check for drink-drivers. He also wants drink-drive procedures to be streamlined to increase police time on the roads.
Making 51 recommendations in all, Sir Peter said that police procedures enforcing current drug-driving laws should be improved, making it more straightforward for police to identify and prosecute drug-drivers by allowing nurses, as well as doctors, to authorise blood tests of suspects.
Drawing on comprehensive new research commissioned from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), Sir Peter said that as many as 168 lives - approximately 7% of current road deaths in Britain - could be saved in the first year of a reduced limit, rising to as many as 303 lives saved by the sixth year following any change in the law.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Sir Peter’s report is a serious piece of work that covers a wide range of issues.
“We will need to carefully consider these with other Government departments.”