The Scottish Government has today published proposals seeking views on lowering the drink driving limit in Scotland. The consultation follows the transferring of powers to set the drink drive limit for Scotland, from Westminster to Edinburgh as part of the Scotland Act 2012.
The Scottish Government announced that it will consider lowering the drink driving limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg, in line with twenty four other European countries.
It is estimated that around 30 deaths in Scotland each year are caused by drivers who have excess alcohol in their blood.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill speaking outside the Scottish Parliament this morning, said
This Government has made it clear that we want a lower drink driving limit as we believe it will help make Scotland’s roads safer. While drink driving is now rightly recognised by the vast majority of motorists as dangerous and reckless, too many drivers still ignore the warnings and put lives at risk by drinking and driving. The consequences can be devastating for victims, their families and our communities.
The launch of this consultation today marks another important step in tackling the scourge of drink driving.
We strongly believe that reducing the drink driving limit will save lives. Tragically, the latest Reported Road Casualty figures estimate that just over one in nine deaths on Scotland’s roads involve drivers who are over the limit. This equates to an average of 30 deaths on Scotland’s roads every year.
That is 30 too many, and we are proposing action to help reduce this number. This consultation seeks views on reducing the drink driving limit to a level which would bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and which will help save lives on our roads.
Estimates of how many lives can be saved with a lower limit do vary, but there is evidence that indicates between three and 17 lives each year could be saved on Scottish roads from a lower limit of 50mg/100ml.
With the UK Government having failed to take action for many years to reduce the drink driving limit, it is only now, with recently secured Scotland Act powers, that the Scottish Government is able to set the drink driving limit in Scotland. This swift use of the newly devolved powers on drink driving shows we are ready to make use of these new powers to help make Scotland a safer place.
I urge anyone with an interest in road safety to make their voice heard through this consultation.
Deputy Chief Constable Tom Ewing, secretary of Road Policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said
There is a clear link between drink driving and road crashes which cause death or serious injury. Despite extensive campaigns by ACPOS and our partners in law enforcement and government, it seems that the message is not getting through to all motorists that drinking and driving is dangerous, anti social and against the law.
We welcome an opportunity to take part in a wide consultation on a reduction of the current drink drive limits. It has always been the position of ACPOS that drivers should not drink alcohol at all before getting behind the wheel but any lowering of the limit could lead to a reduction in those tempted to do so.
That way we can continue the good work already being done to make Scotland’s roads safer and work positively towards the targets laid out in the Scottish Road Safety Framework to 2020.
You can view the Reducing the drink drive limit in Scotland consultation documents here.
What are your views on drink driving in and around Turriff?