Young drivers may be forced to follow a re-education course if caught driving with blood alcohol levels above 0.5 (50 mg per 100 ml), equivalent to two or three small glasses of beer or wine. The current limit is 0.8.
Offenders will have to pay for the course themselves. It could be introduced in 2008, one year earlier than originally planned, transport minister Camiel Eurlings told parliament on Tuesday.
The minister dismissed a proposal for a lower limit of 0.2 (one beer) as unworkable, as it could mean a flood of around 600,000 students annually. ‘A level of 0.5 is more realistic,’ he said.
Another measure under consideration to improve road safety is a temporary driver’s licence for 17-year-olds. They will be given a full licence after one year.
Eurlings also wants to try out voluntary experiments to reduce drink driving by offering personal breath test kits to repeat offenders. These will prevent cars from starting at too-high alcohol levels.
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