Lower drink drive limit
New legislation introduced to cut Scotland’s drink drive alcohol limit.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has introduced an order in Parliament which will mean that, subject to approval, a reduced drink-drive limit will come into effect on December 5, 2014, in time for the festive period.
Under the plans, Scotland’s blood alcohol limit will be reduced from 80mg in every 100 ml of blood, to 50 mg in every 100 ml of blood, bringing Scotland into line with most other European countries.
The Scottish Government previously announced the intention to reduce the limit following a consultation which found almost three quarters of those who responded believed the drink-drive limit should be reduced.
The consultation responses suggested the likely benefits of a lower limit would be fewer road accidents and fewer casualties, with Scotland’s roads currently seeing 20 deaths a year involving drivers who had been drinking and driving.
A multi-media marketing campaign to raise awareness of the new lower limit will be launched in the coming weeks.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“I have said before that I am determined we do everything we can to make our roads safer and save lives. Drink driving shatters families and communities and we must take action to reduce the risk on our roads.
“The latest estimates show that approximately one in ten deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit and research shows that even just one alcoholic drink before driving can make you three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash. As a result, 20 families every year have to cope with the loss of a loved one and around 760 people are treated for injuries caused by someone who thought it was acceptable to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel and drive. We cannot let this continue.
“That’s why I have today introduced legislation to lower the drink drive limit in Scotland so that, subject to parliamentary approval, new laws will be in place in time for the beginning of the festive period.
“This new limit will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and send a clear message to drivers who continue to ignore the warnings that there is never an excuse to drink and drive.
“Getting behind the wheel after drinking can have fatal consequences, the advice is simple; if you have had any alcoholic drink whatsoever, don’t drive. No one should be drinking and driving and the new lower limit only reinforces what should already be the case with drivers taking full responsibility and not putting lives at risk.
“Lowering the drink drive limit will help make Scotland’s roads safer, it is the right thing to do, and most importantly, it will save lives meaning that fewer families have to go through the heartache of a loved one lost”.
Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s Road Safety Manager, Scotland said:
“RoSPA welcomes and strongly supports the Scottish Government’s decision to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland, which we believe will save lives and prevent injuries on Scotland’s roads. There is a considerable body of research which shows that reducing drink-drive limits is effective in reducing drink-drive deaths and injuries. We would like to see the rest of the UK follow Scotland’s example.”
The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Prescribed Limit) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 have been laid in draft in Parliament. Subject to Parliamentary approval, they will come into effect on 5 December 2014, to coincide with launch of festive drink-drive awareness campaign. The Order reduces the breath-alcohol limit from 35mcg/100ml breath to 22mcg/100ml breath.
The Scottish Government announced in March 2013 intention to reduce the limit following consultation, which found almost three quarters of respondents believed the drink-drive limit should be reduced (see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2013/03/drinkdriving21032013)
We have been awaiting type approval for breath testing devices from the Home Office for the new lower limit, which we have now received. If the legislation is approved, a public information campaign will be launched publicising the new drink drive limit in Scotland.
Road casualty statistics are based on averages for 2008 to 2012 and were published in Report Road Casualties Scotland 2013 on 22nd October 2014. http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/statistics/reported-road-casualties-scotland-all-editions
Research on increased relative risk from NICE report, Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, 2010 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100921035225/http:/www.nice.org.uk/media/3FE/1A/BloodAlcoholContentEffectivenessReview.pdf