Commons Gate

Road Safety (HC 460-v)

Transport Committee 16 Jul 2008

Labour Party logo

Evidence given by
3.30 Department for Transport Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
Mike Fawcett, Head of Road User Safety Division.

Q424 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Just on this point about young drivers, there was an intervention by the Government's Chief Medical Officer on Monday, who said that the blood-alcohol level of young drivers should be zero. Do you welcome that intervention? Are you going to implement that proposal?

Jim Fitzpatrick: As you know, Mr Martlew, we have said that we will be going out to consultation on the drink-drive regulations later on this year. It is the Department's view, as I think we are also on record as saying, that we will be leaning that consultation towards better enforcement. We will not be recommending a reduction or elimination in alcohol levels but we know that when we open the door to a drink-drive consultation, naturally that debate will occur and there will be strong opinions submitted in favour of reducing to 50 or eliminating altogether or eliminating for newly qualified drivers. Professor Donaldson has obviously expressed his strong opinion. It is not one which is shared at the moment by the Department and our drink-drive consultation later on this year will allow that debate to take place.

Q425 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): So you did not welcome his intervention?

Jim Fitzpatrick: To be perfectly frank, Mr Martlew, anything, from my point of view, which gets road safety into the headlines, no matter how perverse, is good news because if it is raising the question of safety, notwithstanding, with the greatest of respect to the Select Committee and the disagreement we have about restrictions for younger drivers, having that debate itself is a good thing because it gets the media interested, it gets us some headlines, it gets us some coverage in the written and the electronic media, and it means people are discussing road safety. In that way we welcome it but in terms of the Department welcoming it as something it might support, that is a different proposition altogether.

This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

The full transcript may be read here.

Legislative Work page | Return to Homepage

On behalf of Eric Martlew, 3 Chatsworth Square Carlisle Cumbria CA1 1HB