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05/12/14 00:01

Lower drink drive limit

Reduced drink drive limit in Scotland from 00:01 on December 5

Scotland is leading the way across the UK, bringing in a new lower drink drive limit to save lives on our roads.

On the day the reduced limit comes into effect drivers are being urged to plan their journey ahead or to take the safest approach - don’t drink and drive.

On November 18 the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted in favour of a new law to lower the limit from 80mg in every 100ml of blood to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.

Last week the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) published research showing that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of people would like the Scottish drink-drive limit introduced across England and Wales.

An average of 20 people die on Scotland’s roads every year in accidents involving drivers over the legal limit.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“Scotland is leading the way across the UK. The new limit has backing from experts, road safety campaigners and the majority of the public north and south of the border.

“We are following the advice of the independent North Review, commissioned by the previous UK Government, which concluded that a lower limit would save lives.

“Every year around 20 people die on our roads due to people getting behind the wheel while over the legal limit.

“This change will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe. It’s not about criminalising drivers, it’s about making our roads safer and sending a clear message that even one alcoholic drink will affect the ability to drive. All the evidence from the Republic of Ireland shows reducing the limit means less convictions and lower blood alcohol counts.

“Today we are sending a clear message to drivers who continue to ignore the warnings that there is never an excuse to drink and drive.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said:

"Our message is don't risk it, don't drink and drive.

"Far too many people die or are injured each year on Scotland's roads as a result of drink driving and the irresponsible disregard shown by drink drivers for not only their own safety but that of other road users and pedestrians.

"Evidence from across Europe, where the lower limit already applies, suggests we will see reductions in drink driving and a corresponding increase in lives saved.

"Remember if you do drink and drive, it can have long term repercussions for you, your family and your community. It could cost you your job, your reputation or potentially your life not to mention the effect your actions have on innocent parties.'

"There is no safe amount of alcohol in the body if you drive. Even at the new limit, you are three times more likely to die in a crash than if you had taken no alcohol. It is clear when it comes to drinking and driving, that the simple 'the best advice is none' message is the right one.

"If you are going out for a drink then leave the car at home."

Sir Peter North CBE QC said:

“I am delighted to see Scotland leading the way in implementing the findings of my report. The power to set the drink drive level in Scotland was devolved to the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 2012. Those who responded to the consultation on a proposed reduction from 80mg in every 100ml of blood to 50mg in every 100ml of blood supported the measure three to one.

“The Scottish Parliament has now implemented this move to a new limit. This means that, as from today, Scottish roads should be that much safer. Given this important further step to reduce deaths and injuries on Scottish roads, Scotland is now a great example to the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Notes to editors

Institute of Advanced Motorists Research available here:

Sir Peter North CBE QC has led an independent review of the law on drink and drug driving commissioned by the UK Government and published on 16 June 2010.

In 2010, the last full year in which the higher drink drive limit of 80mg/100ml was in effect in the Republic of Ireland, there were 12,602 convictions for drink driving. The lower limit came into effect on 28 October 2011. In 2011, there were 10,575 convictions and from October 2011 to 2012, drink drive convictions reduced again to 9,771.

The Scottish Government announced in March 2013 the intention to reduce the limit following consultation, which found almost three quarters of respondents supported the reduction in the drink drive limit:

Road casualty statistics are based on averages for 2008 to 2012 and were published in Report Road Casualties Scotland 2013 on 22nd October 2014.

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.