30 APRIL 1954, Page 13


Sit,—I was very interested in Sir Carleton Allen's explanation of the small number of convictions by magistrates of intoxicated motorists. The main point in his argument seemed to be that intoxication' has to be proved " to the point of incapacity in order to bring about a conviction. This rather suggests that the person must be so intoxica- ted as to be incapable of driving, but as I understand the law, all that is necessary is to be incapable of driving with safety, so that in those cases where even a mild degree of intoxication interferes with the driver's ability to have proper control of the vehicle, he is culpable.

As the recent report of the British Medical Association points out, " It should be empha- sised that a person need not be grossly inco-ordinated in his movements and ' drunk' in the popular sense before he can be found to have committed an offence within the meaning of the words of the. Road Traffic Act," and I would suggest that it is this confusion in the minds of many magistrates which causes them to fail to convict, in those cases where a driver is not " drunk " and yet is intoxicated sufficiently to render him incapable of driving a motor car with safety.—Yours faithfully,

1 Sussex Place, Slough, Buckinghamshire