The Scottish Government have today announced plans to almost half the drink-drive limit with a new scheme being implemented “as soon as possible”.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said that plans to bring the limit down, from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg, are set to be brought forward.
The announcement comes less than a week after Scotland became the first part of the UK to implement a minimum price for a unit of alcohol under a new binge-drinking bill.
MacAskill said, “The Scottish government has long called for a reduction in the drink-driving limit to 50mg.
“We strongly believe that reducing the drink-driving limit will save lives, and evidence from across Europe shows that alcohol-related road deaths drop dramatically where the limit has been reduced.”
Scottish road safety campaigners have welcomed the plans and said it was a step in the right direction.
Sarah Fatica, general manager at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We're pleased that the Scottish Government is taking heed of the warning that road safety charities and the EU are sending out about the current drink-drive limit.
“It's certainly a step in the right direction and one that we commend, and we would like to see the British Government also lowering the drink-drive limit. However, a 50mg limit does still leave some level of confusion for the general public about what is safe.”
Scottish Labour's justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald told the BBC: “This a welcome development and something I called for several weeks ago, so I am delighted that the Scottish government are in listening mode.
“We need to get the details right, but the SNP will have our support on the issue as the Scottish Parliament works through the fine print.”
Carole Whittingham, a spokesperson for the Campaign against Drinking and Driving is positive about the imminent changes but hopes for an even lower limit in the future.
She said: “I’m so glad to hear that somebody is actually grasping the nettle at last,” she said.
“Scotland has highlighted that they’ve got a problem. I just wish that the Westminster Government would do the same.
“I’m not against people having a drink, that’s not the issue, it’s the excessive drinking and the impact it has on other people’s lives.
“I would love it if some time in the near future they may well consider zero tolerance because that will remove any grey area. People will always underestimate what they have to drink.
“In a perfect world we’d have zero tolerance but let’s take it one step at a time,” she added.