New drink driving laws proposed in Scotland could be enforced as early as August of this year. The legislation will result in motorists being over the limit if the percentage of alcohol in their blood is over 50mg per 100ml, as opposed to the current drink driving limit of 80mg per 100ml which will remain in force throughout the rest of the UK. The new limit proposed for Scotland is the rough equivalent to just one glass of wine or one pint of beer.
Extensive tests have been carried out to ensure that breathalysers are sensitive enough to detect a lower percentage of alcohol in the blood. It has been suggested that the delay in recalibrating the machines is delaying the legislation being passed. It also has to be considered how motorists crossing the border into Scotland will be made aware of the limit.
The Scottish Government has published a consultation paper which received 138 responses and the majority were in favour of the reform, with 74% agreeing that the drink driving limit should be lowered and some respondents even went as far as to suggest lowering the limit further to 20mg per 100ml or even imposing a zero limit. Other suggestions have been made to have a differing limit depending on the driver’s experience or reason for driving (e.g. if they’re a professional driver, the limit should be higher). The proposed legislation has also been met with widespread support in Holyrood.
However critics have argued that police efforts should concentrate on those who drink and drive while they’re well over the limit rather than those of whom this new legislation would target. They argue that the effects of alcohol only really start to kick in near the 100mg mark and 50mg per 100ml was not enough to impair a driver.
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