Scotland to lower drink drive limit?
May 31 2012
Scotland this weekend gained new powers to set its own road safety legislation – and plans to use the new authority to lower the drink-drive limit from next year.
The current nationwide 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood is expected to be lowered to 50 milligrams, bringing the nation in line with the rest of Europe.
The Daily Telegraph says this roughly equates to a pint of ordinary bitter.
Northern Ireland is expected to follow the new lower limit too – leaving England and Wales among the only countries in the EU using the higher 80 milligrams limit.
“Our position is quite clear – we want to see a reduction in the drink driving limit and for the police to be given the power to carry out random breath tests at the side of the road,” a spokesman for the Scottish Government told the Daily Telegraph.
“The current limit simply leaves too much room for confusion and sends out the wrong message. That’s why we need to have a lower limit, one that sends out a clear message that driving after you’ve had a drink isn’t acceptable – it’s dangerous.
Discussions are now underway on how to enact the proposed new drink-drive law in Scotland, including whether motorists should be given a full 12-month ban. Issues include how to deal with someone who has been prosecuted in Scotland but drives in England or Wales.
The proposals will be brought forward later this year, and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill told PA he wants the change “taking effect as soon as possible”.
Road safety charity Brake welcomed the move, but maintained that a zero-tolerance approach is still its ultimate aim.
“Whilst 50mg is a step in the right direction, what we really need to see is a strong message from our Governments in Scotland and Westminster to say that not a drop is acceptable if you are behind the wheel,” general manager Sarah Fatica told PA.
“Far too many lives are lost on UK roads annually because of drink drivers. If we could have a zero-tolerance approach to drink driving, lives would obviously be saved.”
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