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Government gets tough on most serious drink-drive offenders

The new drink-drive rules will see the most dangerous offenders forced to prove they are no longer dependent on alcohol before they are allowed to get back behind the wheel.

Meanwhile those drink-drivers who obstruct the police by refusing to allow their blood samples to be analysed will now be treated the same as other high-risk offenders.

Under the current rules, 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 licence and before they have taken and passed the necessary medical.

As of 1st June, the most serious offenders will have to pass a medical confirming they are no longer alcohol dependent at the end of their disqualification and before they start driving.

This also applies to offenders who refuse to allow their blood samples to be analysed and are subsequently disqualified.

Road Safety Minister 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.’

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has welcomed the news, with director of policy and research Neil Greig commenting: ‘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.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.