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Implications of lowering drink-drive limit

PUBLISHED: 06:19 15 November 2014

Richard Wood of Keep Your Licence.

Richard Wood of Keep Your Licence.

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Lawyer Richard Wood looks at the potential knock-on effects of lowering the drink-drive limit in Scotland.

A day in the life of the average motorist in England and Wales has become pretty embattled in recent times. However, it seems that things really could get worse.

Spare a thought for our motoring comrades to the north of our borders over the festive season, because the annual Christmas ‘crackdown’ on drink-driving will be more severe than ever.

It is expected that from December 5, plans to change the legal alcohol limit for motorists from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg will come into force. This would equate to a breath specimen limit of about 22 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath (the current limit is 35). This will apply only to Scotland. But for how long?

Of course, no readers of this column will condone drink-driving. However, if we are moving to a system where the law considers there to be no ‘safe limit’ of alcohol for motorists, then there will be many of us, who currently consider ourselves to have a responsible attitude towards drinking, who will have to considerably change our drinking habits.

Police in Scotland believe as many as 35 additional drivers could lose their licences each week over the Christmas period if the move to reduce alcohol limits goes ahead. Around 3,000 drivers have been stopped and found to be over the legal alcohol limit so far in 2014 in Scotland alone.

At Keep Your Licence, we often deal with drivers accused of drink-driving, who face long disqualifications from driving and hefty fines. For those who inadvertently drive with alcohol in their systems the ‘morning after’, the margin of error under the new rules in Scotland will be narrower. It seems inevitable there will be more prosecutions in Scotland for drivers who are only a small proportion over the limit.

One cannot help but suspect the Scottish example is a sign of things to come this side of the border. Of course, don’t forget the annual warning about the police crackdown on drink-driving in this country over the next few weeks. Merry Christmas everyone!

If you have any questions about drink-driving matters, or any motoring law problem, telephone Richard Wood at Keep Your Licence on 0800 7076004 for free initial advice.

n This column is sponsored by Keep Your Licence.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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