THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT will tomorrow vote on an order which will bring the reduced legal drink drive limit into effect on 5 December.
This move will lower the blood alcohol limit from 80mg in every 100ml of blood to 50mg in every 100ml of blood which will put Scotland in line with the rest of Europe.
A high-profile public information campaign to ensure Scotland is ready for a new lower drink drive limit has been launched at the start of Road Safety week.
The campaign aims to put across the message that ‘the best advice is none’ when it comes to drink driving.
A message will be advertised over the coming weeks across various platforms including TV and radio ads, football grounds, supermarkets, road signs and pubs.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “With the approval of Parliament, the new drink drive limit will come into force on December 5, making our roads safer and saving lives.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone is informed about the new lower level.
“A persistent minority of people are still getting behind the wheel after drinking – that is unacceptable, it is putting lives at risk and it must stop. Our advice is simple, the best approach is to have no alcohol at all. Alcohol at any level impairs driving.
“This new law will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and hopefully reduce drink drive arrests and prosecutions, as we have already seen in the Republic of Ireland, where drivers adjusted their behaviour to take account of the lower limit.”
Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, Head of Roads Policing for Police Scotland, also commented. He said: “An average of 20 die on Scotland’s roads each year and last year a further 90 were seriously injured and 340 slightly injured as a result of drink driving related collisions.
“The new lower limit will reduce those numbers and the evidence from across Europe where the lower limit applies suggests we will see reductions in drink driving and blood alcohol counts.
“However even at the new limit you are three times more likely to die in a crash than if you had taken no alcohol. It is clear, when it comes to drinking and driving, that the simple ‘the best advice is none’ message is the right one.
“On the lead up to 5 December police patrols will positively engage with as many road users as possible to provide real-time education to those who may be putting themselves and others at risk, influence behaviour in the future and prevent collisions on Scotland’s roads.”
Paul Bassett, General Manager for the South East Division of Scottish Ambulance Service supported the move. He said: “All too often our ambulance crews have to deal with the tragic consequences of drink driving, which have a devastating impact on families and communities.
“The message is clear and we hope this initiative will reduce the number of lives that are ruined as a result of drink driving.”
Michael McDonnell, Director of Road Safety Scotland, said:
“It’s almost 50 years since the current limit was introduced and that we still lose an average of 20 lives a year is a disgrace.
“Evidence from across the world demonstrates that the best results in tackling drink-driving are achieved by lowering the limit, or increasing enforcement, or both.
“We know, too, that a combination of high-profile enforcement, coupled with a heavyweight media campaign is the most efficient use of resources, and we are working closely with the Police Scotland and other partners to ensure that people know about the change to the limit and have no excuse.
“It’s not about catching more drink-drivers, but about preventing people from doing it in the first place. Ultimately, most of us have too much to lose, so it’s just not worth the risk.”