None for the Road?

The effect of this reduction means that a small glass of wine or a pint of beer, consumed on the day you intend to drive, will put you over the limit.

Drink driving is an extremely emotive subject. Not least of all because 1 in every 10 road deaths in Scotland involve a driver over the limit.  

The drink drive limit was reduced by the Scottish Government on 5th December 2014 from 80 milligrames to 50 milligrames in 100 millilitres of blood,  bringing Scotland into line with not only most of Europe, but with Northern Ireland also.

This lower limit is as close to zero tolerance as is reasonably practical. Assuming, of course, that “reasonably practical” includes the concepts of fairness and justice. The effect of this reduction means that a small glass of wine or a pint of beer, consumed on the day you intend to drive, will put you over the  limit.

Indeed, those persons who have consumed a significant level of alcohol the night before and intend to drive the following day should, perhaps use public transport on that day instead.

There are, however, some glaring difficulties with this piece of legislation. Two of these are worth highlighting albeit briefly:

  • Those other European countries who share this reduced limit have graduated disposals depending on the alcohol level at the time of the offence. In France and Spain, for instance you are likely to receive a fine and 6 penalty points for a reading between 50 - 80 mg. However in Scotland there is a mandatory minimum 12 month ban and a fine. The Scottish Government have no power to alter this and so it will remain as it is. Therefore comparisons between Scotland and other European Jurisdictions are utterly specious.
  •  Police Scotland are unable to provide statistics as to how many drivers, with alcohol readings between 50 - 80 mg are involved in accidents, fatal or otherwise. The Justice Secretary told us that this legislative change will save lives, however there is nothing to support this contention.

I’ll close by saying that alcohol consumption is something you will have to pay extremely close attention to when considering whether to drive or not, perhaps you do in any event.

With the onset of warmer weather, please bear the limit in mind when enjoying a cold beer or a chilled glass of rose with a summer barbecue. Is it really worth losing your licence?

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