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Scots drink-drive limit to be lowered from 5 December

24 October 2014

The drink driving limit in Scotland will be reduced from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood from 5 December 2014, under an order introduced to Holyrood by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Power to set the limit was devolved to the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 2012, and the lower limit has received cross-party support. Introduction of the limit was however delayed as type approval for breath testing devices for the lower limit was still required from the Home Office.

The corresponding limit for breath alcohol will reduce from 35mcg to 22mcg in 100ml of breath.

Most countries on continental Europe already have a legal limit equal to or lower than the new Scottish threshold. The current limit will continue to apply in the rest of the UK. It is said that a single pint of beer or glass of wine could put a driver over the limit.

If the legislation is approved, a multi-media public information campaign will be launched publicising the new limit, which will come into force at the same time as the annual campaign against drink driving over the festive period.

Mr MacAskill commented: “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 10 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."