March 21, 2013

Government to Cut Drink-Drive limit

The Scottish Government is to press ahead with cutting the drink-driving limit, the Justice Secretary has said results of a consultation show three-quarters of people want it reduced.

The Scottish Government proposes to lower the limit from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, the limit for drivers across the UK, to 50mg/100ml.

Formal discussions will now take place with the police and the UK Government to bring in a lower limit in Scotland. Kenny MacAskill said: “Drink-driving can shatter families and communities and we must take action to reduce the risk on our roads.”

The Scotland Act 2012 transferred the power to set the drink-driving limit from Westminster to Holyrood. Lowering the limit to 50mg would bring Scotland in line with other European countries such as Germany, France and Spain.

A total of 74% of those who responded to the Scottish Government consultation back a reduction in the limit, of which 87% agree with reducing it to 50mg.

Mr MacAskill said: “On average, 30 families every year have to cope with the loss of a loved one and around 900 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.

“Lowering the drink-drive limit will help make Scotland’s roads safer and save lives. The evidence is clear and the vast majority of those who responded to our consultation support the Scottish Government’s plans for change.”

He was speaking at an event in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary aimed at highlighting the harm caused by drink driving.

“The consultation now allows us to progress formal discussions with the police and the UK Government on the recalibration and testing of drink-drive enforcement devices to ensure prosecutions are as robust as possible,” he said.

“Before a lower limit is introduced we will also consider issues such as how motorists driving into Scotland from England will be made aware of the lower limit. We are exploring options with Transport Scotland, police and justice and road safety partners as we move forward with our plans.

“Once we have progressed these issues over the next few months, I will be asking the Scottish Parliament to approve regulations to lower the limit.”

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