They may not have voted for independence, but our Caledonian cousins in the Scottish Government get my vote for ‘LAW PASS OF THE YEAR’ by introducing a new drink-drive limit right across Scotland.
In keeping with the rest of Europe (with a couple of exceptions), there will be a new limit of 50mg in every 100ml of blood from Friday 5 December when it comes to being in charge of a vehicle. And road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist have welcomed the news.
GEM chief executive David Williams comments: “Research shows that reducing drink drive limits is effective in reducing deaths and injuries. What’s more, the move at this time of year brings a welcome opportunity to highlight the dangers of drinking and driving.
“There is sound logic and good research to back the reduction. For example, the introduction of a 20mg limit in Sweden reduced fatal crashes by 9.7%, with a 7.5% reduction in all crashes. Additionally, the lower limit reduced crashes among drivers who were the most serious drink-driving offenders. So even drivers causing accidents who were found to be well above the limit reduced after the introduction of the ban.
“We would like to see the rest of the UK follow Scotland's example."
Those exceptions that we mentioned earlier are very relevant because, besides Malta, the only other state that has a higher drink-drive tolerance is the rest of the UK – and Northern Ireland are considering a lowering in line with Scotland! The current limit in the UK (except Scotland) is 80mg per 100ml of blood, and it is hoped, not just by road safety charities and organisations but by many other people, that the rest of the UK may follow suit too.
The change to Scottish policy, which the Government there were able to implement thanks to the fallout from the devolution vote, was also welcomed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s road safety manager for Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government’s decision to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland is a positive step towards saving lives and reducing injuries on Scotland’s roads, which we strongly support. Consuming any amount of alcohol will affect your ability to drive and put you and others at risk of dying on our roads. Research indicates if you have a blood alcohol level of between 0.05 and 0.08, the equivalent of the old and new limits, you are six times more likely to die in a crash. This change should clearly make it safer for all. The only safe limit is zero.”
But we will sign off with final words of caution from David Williams, who warns that reducing the drink drive limit doesn’t mean it’s now acceptable to drive after drinking slightly less alcohol.
“It’s worth noting that even at the new, lower limit, you are three times more likely to die in a crash than if you had taken no alcohol. That’s why GEM has always supported the policy that, if you need to drive, don’t drink any alcohol.”