News In Focus
Ministers consult on lower drink drive limit
7 September 2012
Scottish ministers have moved to use their new powers over drink-driving limits by publishing a consultation on their plans to lower the permitted maximum.
The proposals, which follow the transfer of powers under the Scotland Act 2012, would involve the headline blood/alcohol limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood coming down to 50 mg per 100ml. The permitted levels for breath and urine would come down by equivalent amounts, from 35 to 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath, and from 107 to 67mg per 100ml of urine.
The consultation asks whether respondents agree that the limits should be lowered, and if so, with the proposed levels. Further, optional questions seek evidence in relation to the likely financial and other impacts of the proposals, and whether any other measures should be considered to tackle drink driving, to add to current powers on vehicle forfeiture.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “This Government has made it clear that we want a lower drink driving limit as we believe it will help make Scotland’s roads safer. While drink driving is now rightly recognised by the vast majority of motorists as dangerous and reckless, too many drivers still ignore the warnings and put lives at risk by drinking and driving. The consequences can be devastating for victims, their families and our communities."
He added: “We strongly believe that reducing the drink driving limit will save lives. Tragically, the latest reported road casualty figures estimate that just over one in nine deaths on Scotland’s roads involve drivers who are over the limit. This equates to an average of 30 deaths on Scotland’s roads every year."
As the Justice Secretary also acknowledged, the paper itself suggests that, extrapolating from UK data and research, the number of lives likely to be saved annually lies somewhere between three and 17.
Deputy Chief Constable Tom Ewing of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, added: “There is a clear link between drink driving and road crashes which cause death or serious injury. Despite extensive campaigns by ACPOS and our partners in law enforcement and government, it seems that the message is not getting through to all motorists that drinking and driving is dangerous, antisocial and against the law."
Click here to view the consultation. The deadline for responses is 29 November 2012.