A bill amending the Traffic Act with extensive changes was passed unanimously by the Icelandic parliament yesterday, RÚV reports. A decrease in the legal blood alcohol limit is one of its changes. Transport Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson says the amendments have been in the works for 12 years.
Drunk driving ban strengthened
According to the new laws, the maximum blood alcohol level permitted for drivers will be lowered from 0.05% to 0.02%. The bill’s exposition states that drunk driving is the second most prevalent cause of traffic accidents in Iceland, after speeding. Research shows that a blood alcohol level of 0.05% has a significant impact on the motorist’s driving ability and increases the likelihood of accidents. A driver with 0.05% blood alcohol concentration level is 150 times more likely to lose their life in a traffic accident compared to a sober driver.
The bill has several aims, including to increase traffic safety and modernise Icelandic traffic laws. It also aims to further adapt Icelandic traffic laws to international laws. A comprehensive revision of the Traffic Act began in 2017, based on an earlier bill prepared in committee in 2007.