Is the lower drink driving limit working in Scotland?

Don't drink and drive

In December 2014, the Scottish Government reduced the drink driving limit in an attempt to reduce road traffic accidents and the number of fatal injuries on our roads.

The limit was lowered in Scotland only from 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres to 50mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the limit remains at 80mg.

Studies from other European countries that introduced a lower drink driving limit witnessed a reduction in the number of road traffic accidents and it was thought similar results would be seen in Scotland.

Has it worked?

A recent two-year study from Glasgow University’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing shows the number of road traffic accidents and fatal injuries have actually seen a slight increase since the lower drink driving limit was brought into force.

Throughout 2016 there were 6,070 road accidents which involved drink driving, costing the Scottish economy around £80million.

It is believed that the lack of positive change is due to inadequate police enforcement and media campaigning.

Festive crackdown on drink driving

Earlier this month, Police Scotland launched its annual festive Drink Driving campaign, warning of the serious consequences of drink-driving.

They will be increasing the number of drivers pulled over and breathalysed. Last year, 567 drivers failed breath tests across the festive season.

Why should you comply with the lower drink driving limit?

There are serious consequences for those that choose to drink and drive. Alcohol slows down the brain, which in turn can lead to numerous issues. These include:

  • Taking longer to receive messages from the eye
  • Processing information becomes difficult
  • Instructions to muscles are delayed resulting in slower reaction times.

You are also at risk of double vision making it harder to see hazards on the road, and are more likely to take risks, making the chances of being in an accident much greater. You risk causing serious injury to yourself, and others, in the event of an accident.

If you are caught drink driving, you may lose your license, receive a criminal record or be sentenced to prison. All of these have far-reaching consequences – for example, you could struggle to find a new job, especially if it involves driving or face difficulty travelling abroad.

For more information, read our blog Is driving after one drink worth the risk?