Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has already announced plans to lower the drink-driving limit from the UK measure of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to the European norm of 50mg/100ml, the equivalent of one pint of beer. The power to change the limit for drink driving in Scotland was devolved by Westminster in last year’s Scotland Act. Despite repeated calls to adopt the European limit, Westminster has so far ruled out a change in England and Wales.
It has, however, been argued that changing the threshold for drink driving in Scotland to a lower level than the rest of the UK will cause numerous problems for those driving on Britain’s roads. The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) says the imminent change will need to be accompanied by a significant public information campaign to warn drivers that Scotland and England will be subject to different limits. The countries top police officers have stated that tourists and other road users will be confused by a new lower limit for drink driving in Scotland, which could see ministers being forced to signpost every cross-border road to warn drivers of the differing levels of lawful alcohol blood levels.
Although we do believe it is a good idea to bring Scotland in line with the rest of Europe on drink driving matters the decision for England and Wales to not follow suit is troubling. A number of practical problems for the police have been highlighted by ACPOS: Different road traffic laws across the UK may be confusing to road users, especially tourists,” Although the 50mg limit is fully supported, “There is every probability that a reduction in the limit would bring about more convictions … and undoubtedly more ‘morning-after’ detections.”
The country’s leading accident charity called for borderline drunk drivers in Scotland to escape with shorter bans when the limit is lowered. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said those caught with a reading of between 50mg and 80mg should be disqualified for six rather than 12 months “to encourage public acceptance of the new limits” These changes illustrate, that now more than ever, if you are unsure then DON’T get behind the wheel. Be safe. If you have had ANY ALCOHOL at all then do not drive: It is not worth the risk. If you have been charged with drink driving in Scotland then call 0800 612 9597 for a FREE and confidential Case Consultation with Graham Walker and the Road Traffic Law Team.