Drink drive collisions seriously or fatally injure 3000 people each year; while the most vulnerable demographic is men aged 17-29, the reality is that anyone can be involved in a collision where alcohol is a factor. Authorities conduct more than 500,000 breath tests each year – and one-fifth of them are positive. But what does ‘positive’ mean? What’s the legal limit, and does lowering it cause more people to offend?
The legal limit 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. For blood, it is 80mg per 100ml, and for urine, it is 107mg per 100ml. How does that translate into actual drinks? Several factors impact how much one can drink before one is over the legal limit, such as weight, gender, metabolism, whether you have eaten recently, stress levels and age.
In 2014, Scotland introduced a lower alcohol-content limit of 50mg per 100ml. Police authorities were told to prepare for an uptick of 33 per cent in the rate of offenses. But thus far, the change appears to have not increased drink driving statistics. In fact, the number of offenses fell in the first quarter since the limit was lowered.This is good news because it indicates a downward trend in drink driving offences.
Experts say that Scotland’s law change means that most men will be able to consume one pint or a large glass of wine and most women will be able to consume a half pint or a small glass of wine before exceeding the limit. (Again, this depends on several factors). Recent advertising campaigns, though, have stressed that ‘the best advice is none.’ It appears that more drivers are heeding that message and staying off the roads.
Lowering alcohol limits may help curb drink driving; as Scotland proves, though, strongly advising people to abstain, stay home or enlist a designated driver appears to be an effective move.