Drink-Drive Limit

The Scottish Parliament has voted 100 to 12 in favour of reducing the drink-drive limit from 80mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 50mg/100ml.

I was pleased to vote for this change. Over the decades, the once commonplace concept of “one for the road” has thankfully been consigned to history. Drink-driving is instead recognised as anti-social and, of course, downright dangerous.

Numbers of road accidents have fallen over time and continue on a downward trend, despite the increased volume of traffic. This is happening for a variety of reasons. For example, roads are now generally better maintained and cars are designed safer, while drivers go through more rigorous testing to gain their licenses and tend to drive with greater care.

Yet, around one in ten deaths on Scottish roads still involve drink-drivers, with approximately 750 casualties resulting from drink-drive accidents in 2010. The British Medical Association, which welcomes the drink-drive limit reduction, states that drivers with a reading of 80mg alcohol/100ml of blood are ten times more likely to be involved in a road accident than those who haven’t drank. Drivers with a reading of between 50 to 80mg/100ml are six times more likely to be killed.

Even with a reading of 50mg/100ml, drivers are still twice as likely to be involved in a crash than those who have not consumed alcohol. Any drink-drive casualty is a casualty too high, but by reducing the legal drink-drive limit Scotland is taking a step towards further reducing the accidents and deaths on our roads.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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