“Don’t risk it” as drink drive limit is lowered

Chief Superintendent Iain Murray Police Scotland's head of Road Policing and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.
Chief Superintendent Iain Murray Police Scotland's head of Road Policing and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

From midnight tonight (December 4) the drink drive limit in Scotland will be lowered by almost 50 per cent, meaning the authorities’ “Don’t risk it” message has never been more relevant.

The blood alcohol limit from has been lowered from 80mg in every 100ml of blood to 50mg in every 100ml of blood, a step which Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, head of Roads Policing for Police Scotland, said is necessary to tackle alcohol-related injuries and deaths on the country’s roads.

He said: “An average of 20 die on Scotland’s roads each year and last year a further 90 were seriously injured and 340 slightly injured as a result of drink driving-related collisions.

“The new lower limit will reduce those numbers and the evidence from across Europe where the lower limit applies suggests we will see reductions in drink driving and blood alcohol counts.

“However even at the new limit you are three times more likely to die in a crash than if you had taken no alcohol.” The likelihood of being caught is now greater than ever before. It is estimated that Police Scotland stop more than 80,000 vehicles each month, with around 20,000 offences detected every month.

The Police have a commitment to breathalyse any driver who:-

Has been stopped for any moving traffic offence (e.g. using a mobile phone, a faulty brake light, not wearing a seatbelt)

They suspect has been drinking or taking drugs

Has been involved in an accident

Even if you are under the limit, you can still be charged with impairment through drink or drugs (legal or illegal).

The vehicle forfeiture scheme targets repeat offenders, and also first-time offenders who are three times the limit or more or who refuse to provide a sample for analysis. This scheme means you could lose your car, for good.

The consequences for drink drivers can be far-reaching and include an automatic ban of 12 months, a fine of up to £5,000, a lengthy criminal record, the possibility of a prison sentence and an increased risk of losing their vehicle for good. There is also the knock-on effect this can have on their jobs and future employment prospects.

With the festive party season looming, drivers are being reminded that they can easily still be over the limit the morning after an evening’s drinking.

It can take roughly 10 hours to be alcohol-free after drinking one bottle of wine, while it can be around 13 hours to be alcohol-free after drinking four pints of strong lager or ale.

Drug driving can affect the way you drive in a similar way to drink driving. Drugs affect different people in different ways but, contrary to what many claim, they definitely do not have a positive effect on your driving ability. This applies to illegal drugs and many medicinal drugs.

Chief Superintendent Murray added: “It is clear, when it comes to drinking and driving, that the simple ‘the best advice is none’ message is the right one.”