On Friday December 5th 2014, Scotland changed their drink driving limit. The legal limit is now 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, down from the previous limit of 80mg. What this means for drivers, is that they will be breaking the law, if they drink a single pint of beer and then get behind the wheel. The reason for lowering the drink drive limit north of the border, is to bring Scotland’s drink driving laws in line with most other EU countries and of course to save lives. Approximately 20 people die unnecessarily every year in Scotland due to road traffic accidents involving drink driving. According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, they say that this a result of the drivers involved being well over the legal limit. In Europe, there are sliding penalties for drink drivers, depending on their level of intoxication, especially those who are just over the limit compared to those who are two or three times the legal limit.
Drivers south of the Scottish border have concerns however. They could legally get behind the wheel of their car in the UK, but if they drive north into Scotland, they’ll be over the legal limit. In fact, drivers may be over the limit in Scotland under the new drink driving laws, if they consume just one glass wine or one pint of beer. The way people process alcohol is different for each person. It may vary greatly, according to metabolism, tiredness and whether you have eaten recently. According to Drink Aware “even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive so the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving.” Many motorists are also unaware that they could even be over the limit, if they drive the morning after a heavy night out. It can take anything from 10-13 hours for alcohol to leave your system. If you are planning a big night out on the town, it’s probably best to do it when you don’t have to get up and drive the next morning.
The president of the AA, the UK’s largest motoring organization, Edmund King says “if you are going to drive, don’t drink, and if you are going to drink, don’t drive.” The maximum penalty for drink driving is up to six months in prison, a one year driving ban and a £5,000 fine, so it’s just not worth it. Before the new limit came in, Scotland had the highest drink-driving limit in Europe, which sent out the message that having a drink or two before getting behind the wheel was acceptable. This is no longer the case.
Now, Scotland’s drink driving limit is now well below that of England and Wales where the alcohol limit for drivers is still 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. According to a recent survey by the RAC, 79 per cent of Scottish motorists support the recent reduction in the drink driving limit. Remember, if you even have one drink, you may be over the legal limit, so it’s best to never ever drink and drive.
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