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Justice Minister Says Lowering Drink-Driving Limit Will Save 17 Lives A Year

Scotland’s Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill, believes that there is massive support in favour of cutting the existing legal drink-driving limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50mg which would equal most countries in the European Union. One problem is the fact that the limit in England will stay as it is meaning there could be some confusion. Road safety campaigners are not happy with this plan and wish to see a ‘zero tolerance’ policy enforced instead.

This change will mean that drivers could be over the limit after drinking a strong pint of beer or a large glass of wine. The existing limit is equal to 1.5 pints of beer. MacAskill recently published a public consultation on the plan which is supported by all Scottish political parties and the police. There are almost 1,000 casualties on Scottish roads each year due to drink driving with 30 people killed annually. MacAskill believes that the number of lives saved could range from 3-17 under the new proposal.

He said that while drink driving is seen as dangerous by most drivers, there are still some who flout the law and put their lives and the lives of others at risk. He said that quickly using the new devolved powers means that Scotland can implement its own limit and make the nation’s roads safer. He said that reducing the limit to zero posed an issue for police who would be forced to arrest people who used mouthwash containing alcohol or ate sherry trifle or chocolate liqueurs.

MacAskill said that he didn’t foresee any problems with drivers coming up from England as those using long motorways would not be drinking alcohol anyway. Police chiefs are planning to erect signposts reminding drivers coming from England that the legal limit is lower in Scotland. After the consultation has been completed, MacAskill wants to table secondary legislation to ensure that the law can change early in 2013.

The British Medical Association have released evidence which shows that drivers at the existing limit are up to 10 times more likely to be in an accident than a driver that has consumed no alcohol at all. Although you will still be twice as likely to crash at the new proposed limit, it is still considerably safer than the current limit. Drivers that consume any alcohol find that their ability to judge distance and speed is hampered. While the police are happy with the proposal, Sarah Fatica of road safety charity Brake is not. She wants to see a complete ban on alcohol while driving.

Source: telegraph.co.uk