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One month later, has the new Scottish drink driving law made a difference?

The new Scottish drink driving law was brought in at the end of 2014, and from 8th to the 29th December, drink driving offences in Scotland were 27% lower than the same period in the previous year.

During this period, police stopped 13,346 motorists. Of those, 255 had committed a drink driving offence, down from 348 the previous year.

The current drink driving limit in Scotland stands at 50mg per 100ml in the blood. It was introduced to make Scotland’s drink driving laws in-line with most other European countries and reduce the number of accidents and injuries to road users.

It’s a myth that you can safely have one drink and still be under the legal limit in the UK.

 But under the new Scottish law, the lower limit means that it’s highly likely that even with just one drink, you’ll be committing a drink driving offence.

Why don’t they make it 0mg / 100ml?

Many organisations and groups are calling for zero tolerance on drinking and driving, especially as only one drink will almost certainly put you over the new legal limit in Scotland.

However, alcohol can get into your system without drinking an alcoholic drink, such as some mouthwashes and medicines, which makes it difficult to enforce when drivers genuinely haven’t had an alcoholic drink.

 How much can I drink and stay under the limit?

The only way to be 100% certain that you are below the legal limit for drink driving offences is to not drink at all.

The limit in England and Wales remains at 80mg / 100ml of blood, so for many people it’s still tempting to have a drink or two and still drive.

The fact remains that the amount of alcohol in your blood differs from person to person and depends on your metabolism.

You ability to process alcohol is affected by things such as:

·         Food you’ve eaten

·         Stress levels

·         Weight

·         Age

·         Gender

·         Metabolism

Even if you have been breathalysed, and you are below the legal limit, you could still be charged for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) with strict penalties.

Like the new drug driving laws

, if your driving is impaired, you can still be prosecuted, even if you thought you were within the law.

How does it affect the rest of the UK?

At the moment it doesn’t. England and Wales still have the highest limit in Europe, alongside only Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta.

In December 2014 the UK government said that the limits for drink driving in England and Wales would stay at 80mg / 100ml of blood. But the success so far of the new Scottish laws could well have an influence over future decisions on motoring law.

Our stance on drink driving, however, will always be the same. The only way you can be 100% certain that you’re not over the limit is not to drink alcohol at all.

05/02/2015 02:06