The maximum legal prescribed alcohol limit for driving could be lowered in Scotland in a matter of weeks
Draft regulations have been laid before the Scottish Parliament by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. The draft statutory instrument, if approved, will see the maximum legal alcohol limit in Scotland lowered in time for Christmas.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Prescribed Limit) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 is the official title of the statutory instrument containing the proposed changes, and if approved, will come into force on 5th December 2014. Just in time to coincide with the launch of Scotland’s festive drink drive awareness campaign.
The proposed new regulations will amend the maximum legally allowable proportion of alcohol present in a motorists breath, blood and urine in relation to driving, attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle in Scotland as currently Defined by Section 11(2) of The Road Traffic Act 1988.
The new regulations will lower the maximum prescribed legal alcohol limit in Scotland as follows:
- FROM 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath TO 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
- FROM 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood TO 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- FROM 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine TO 67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine
Under the proposed new regulations section 8(2) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 which makes provisions for persons who provide a breath specimen whereby the lower proportion of alcohol contains no more than 50 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath to be able to claim that the breath specimen should be replaced by an alternative specimen of blood or urine (aka the statutory option) will be amended in relation to cases where the suspected offence is committed in Scotland.
This new proposals will allow persons who are suspected of committing an offence in Scotland who provide a breath specimen whereby the lower proportion of alcohol contains no more than 31 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath to be able to claim that the breath specimen should be replaced by an alternative specimen of blood or urine.
The new proposed lower blood alcohol limit in Scotland will bring Scotland in line with the drink driving limits of most other European countries. Type approval for breath testing devices for the new lower limits have already been received.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“Those who ignore 50 and ignore 80 will be dealt with by the full weight of the law. They’ll be dealt with by the police, they’ll be targeted, they tend to be a hard core who think the law does not apply to them, but they will face the severe consequences that go with it.”
“This is about improving road safety, we know that alcohol impairment does kick in mostly at 50mg, that’s the level where its quite clear that driving is impaired.”
“Its not just about saving lives, its avoiding the incidents that happen and the tragedies that befall not just those who are driving or on the road but those who can be pedestrians and minding their own business.”
“The best advice is not to drink and drive, and if you are then the maximum is one for a normal strength drink.”