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Call to get tough on drink-drivers; The World Today Public says penalties are too soft.

Byline: By Peter Woodman

THE government needs to "toughen up" the penalties for drink-drivers, a poll out today revealed.

More than three in five people think there should be longer sentences for those convicted of drinking and driving, the survey from Privilege Insurance found.

The survey results coincide with the Road Safety Bill entering its final stages in Parliament.

Under a Privilege proposal, recently submitted to MPs and backed by 55 per cent of drivers surveyed, the fitting of a breath-testing device - or "alcolock" - to the ignition of a convicted drink-driver's vehicle would be compulsory for a minimum of six months following the completion of a ban for drink-driving.

Privilege said today that, as it stands, the Road Safety Bill provides for the future use of alcolocks, but would only give courts the power to allow drink-drive offenders to drive during the latter part of their disqualification period, where it is over a year long, if they pay for the fitting of an alcolock.

But the government's current proposal is supported by just a fifth of motorists and Privilege believes the Bill should be strengthened further.

The company said that 24 per cent of motorists believed the threat of having an alcolock fitted would prevent them from drink-driving - leading to almost two million fewer drink-drivers on the roads and result in a decline of more than 20,000 convictions for drink-driving.

Also, 56 per cent of those with four or more years' no-claims discounts back Privilege's alcolock scheme, compared to just 46 per cent of those who have made a claim on their insurance within the last four years.

Kaye Syred, from Privilege Insurance said: "The driving public are sending a clear message to the government -toughen up the penalties for drink-drivers.

"One fifth of all motorists convicted for drink-driving every year are reoffenders and these should be the easiest to remove from the roads."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 9, 2006
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