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New drink driving limit comes into effect in Scotland

Effective from today (5 December), a new drink drive limit of 50mg in every 100ml of blood will apply across Scotland as the Scottish Government looks to bring about a reduction in road casualties.

drink-drivingThe move has been strongly supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) which added that it hopes the move will lead to another law change as it pushes for lighter evenings.

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.’

However, with the new drink-drive limit in Scotland having been implemented because Westminster has devolved powers to Scotland to set its own drink-drive limit, RoSPA added that it has recently asked William Hague, who is reviewing the constitution following the Scottish referendum, to introduce a similar devolution of powers in the constituent parts of the UK so they can make their own decisions on another important road safety issue – lighter evenings.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA’s chief executive, said: ‘We hope that the Scottish Government’s decision to lower the drink-drive limit will pave the way for change in the law for lighter evenings as well.

‘Research commissioned by the Department for Transport shows that about 80 deaths and at least 200 serious injuries would be prevented on the roads each year if the UK switched to Single/Double Summer Time, which could put the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and two hours ahead of GMT in summer.

‘Extra evening daylight would protect vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists by making them more visible to motorists during the peak time in the late afternoon and early evening.  And contrary to wide-held opinion in Scotland, research by the Policy Studies Institute has shown that it is Scotland which would benefit disproportionately from this change.

‘Few people will understand how Scotland can be given freedom to implement its laudable road safety policy in one area and yet by a perverse devolutionary hookum, neither Scotland nor any other country in the UK can choose to implement a road safety law which would have a similar life-saving, injury-reducing effect, through daylight saving.  If such a freedom were granted, the ideal outcome would be for Scotland to make the first move.  But in any case, this artificial barrier to progress should not be used to prevent those who live further south from benefiting from the many advantages which daylight saving would bring.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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