6 Maltese Drinking Laws That Could Change Soon
Drinking and driving may result in withdrawal of license.
Yesterday evening, the Family Ministry released the National Alcohol Policy for public consultation. The consultation document, available online, outlines 24 proposed actions. The three main policy aims are targeting underage drinking, reducing harmful alcohol use in the general population, and tackling drink driving. Here are six highlights from the whole thing:
1. Drastically reducing the national alcohol limit
Currently, the BAC limit in our country is 0.8g of alcohol per litre of blood. While that doesn't sound like much, it's actually the highest in Europe (which has an average of 0.5 g/l).
The policy suggests reducing the alcohol limit to 0.5 g/l (a small beer) for all drivers, but reducing that to 0.2 g/l for drivers having held a driving license for less than two years, motorcyclists and drivers of lorries that weigh more than 2.5 tonnes. When it comes to minibuses, taxis, chauffeurs, and paid driven services, the policy rightfully mentions a zero-tolerance BAC limit reduction to 0.0 g/l.
2. "Harsher penalties" against sellers and distributors
As to be expected, the first target of the policies are the actual shops selling alcohol. These establishments should be required to have a "clear and prominent indicator" about sales to minors.
What's more, in case of any perceivable doubt, they should immediately ask for evidence of the person having reached the legal drinking age. The motivation of all this? Much stricter sanctions against shops that don't follow this.
3. "Prohibited distribution" of free, alcohol-related products
And yep, that includes brand related t-shirts, glasses and caps. Smart idea - we see alcohol too much anyway. Out of sight, out of mind. And hey, no more thousands of useless free merch? No problem.
4. Random, and more frequent, breath and behavioural road side tests
Police records show that this year, 139 motorists tested positive when asked to undertake a breathalyser test. Many people seem to think that these tests are an urban legend and don't really happen in Malta, but not only do they clearly do, but the policy suggests increasing them by a very substantial amount.
5. Much harsher penalties for drink-driving offences
Simple, effective, important. The policy doesn't go into detail of just to what the penalties should increase, but it does mention the withdrawal of driving licenses.
6. "Mandatory assessment, education and treatment" for drink driving offenders
The important final step in the policy suggestions is what happens after all of the above has somehow failed to keep people from stupidly drinking and driving. Something that we'd definitely want to see happening, the policy mentions actually doing something about a drink driving offence after to make sure it doesn't happen again, through education and treatment.