There were 181 people arraigned in court on drink-driving cases in the first 10 months of the year, which would reach 217 by the end of the year at the current rate.
This would be a slight increase from the 203 cases in 2016 and 188 cases in 2015, according to the reply given by Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia in response to a Parliamentary Question by MP Robert Abela.
The government is set on halving the number of cases and has two different proposals set to be put into action.
Drink-driving alcohol limits are to halved, coming in line with limits of many other European countries. The current limit of 0.8g of alcohol per litre of blood – the highest in the EU – will be reduced to 0.5g, the EU average. First-time offenders found driving over the limit could face a €1,200 fine or even a licence suspension of up to three years.
A driving licence point system will also be extended to all motorists as of December 1. The system, whereby drivers who accumulate 12 points for breaking traffic laws automatically have their licence suspended, is currently in place for new drivers for a three-year period.
Drivers caught drink-driving will get anything between three and 11 points on their licence.
A 2010 Eurobarometer study found that 99 per cent of Maltese drivers had no idea what the drink-driving limit was. The study also found that 17 per cent of local motorists drank every day.