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26 October 2014

Plans to Reduce Drink-Driving Limit Welcomed


SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PLANS WILL MAKE SCOTLAND’S ROADS SAFER

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed new plans to reduce the drink-drive limit on Scotland’s roads in time for Christmas – in a move to make Scotland’s roads safer and bring Scotland into line with much of Europe.

Under plans announced by the Scottish Government, the blood alcohol limit in Scotland would be cut from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg per 100ml which brings Scotland into line other European countries including France, Spain and Germany.

Estimates suggest that around one in ten deaths on roads in Scotland involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Drink-driving has been a scourge on Scotland’s roads for too long – leading to completely unnecessary injuries and deaths - devastating families and communities across the country. It is absolutely right that the Scottish Government is to take this decisive action.

“Around one in ten deaths on Scotland’s roads involve drivers who are over the limit – and having even one drink is enough to make you three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.

“That’s why lowering the blood alcohol limit is the right thing to do – making our roads safer, saving lives and preventing more families from having to deal with losing a loved one through drink driving.

“This new limit will send out a clear message that driving after you’ve had a drink is unacceptable – and I hope the rest of the UK follows Scotland’s example on this important issue and comes into line with the rest of Europe.”

Announcing the plans, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

“I have said before that I am determined we do everything we can to make our roads safer and save lives. Drink driving shatters families and communities and we must take action to reduce the risk on our roads.

“The latest estimates show that approximately one in ten deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit and research shows that even just one alcoholic drink before driving can make you three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash. As a result, 20 families every year have to cope with the loss of a loved one and around 760 people are treated for injuries caused by someone who thought it was acceptable to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel and drive. We cannot let this continue.

“That’s why I have introduced legislation to lower the drink drive limit in Scotland so that, subject to parliamentary approval, new laws will be in place in time for the beginning of the festive period.

“This new limit will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and send a clear message to drivers who continue to ignore the warnings that there is never an excuse to drink and drive.

“Getting behind the wheel after drinking can have fatal consequences, the advice is simple; if you have had any alcoholic drink whatsoever, don’t drive. No one should be drinking and driving and the new lower limit only reinforces what should already be the case with drivers taking full responsibility and not putting lives at risk.”

The move has been welcomed by road safety campaigners.

Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s Road Safety Manager, Scotland said:

“RoSPA welcomes and strongly supports the Scottish Government’s decision to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland, which we believe will save lives and prevent injuries on Scotland’s roads. There is a considerable body of research which shows that reducing drink-drive limits is effective in reducing drink-drive deaths and injuries. We would like to see the rest of the UK follow Scotland’s example.”
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