Drink driving limit cut in Scotland

Posted on: 31/10/2014

Drink driving limit cut in Scotland

Scotland is to reduce its drink-driving limit in time for Christmas, with motorists advised not to get behind the wheel if they have drunk any alcohol whatsoever.

The reduction from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood means that drivers could be breaking the law if they have drunk a small glass of wine or single pint of beer. The new limit brings the country into line with Northern Ireland and most of Europe, while the limit in England and Wales remains at 80mg.

From 5 December, traffic police will be able to breathalyse drivers at the reduced limit as the force launches its annual festive crackdown.

According to latest estimates, around one in 10 deaths on Scotland’s roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit.

The Scottish parliament originally voted in favour of reducing the drink-drive limit two years ago but implementation of the new law was severely delayed by administrative backlogs at Westminster, which still reserves powers over the setting of breathalyser limits and their admissibility in court.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday morning, the Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, said the plans to reduce the drink-drive limit had “broad support”.

A previous government consultation found that almost three quarters of the public backed the proposed change. MacAskill added: “The support comes not just from the police and law enforcement. It comes from those involved in road safety.”

Asked on the Good Morning Scotland show why a joint approach had not been agreed with the Westminster government, MacAskill said: “We did seek that, but it was the United Kingdom government that decided not to lower the limit despite, I think, a great deal of public support for it being lowered down there.”

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