Scotland lowers drink-drive limit


Motorcyclist groups have welcomed the news that Scotland is lowering the drink-drive limit. Reducing the limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, down from 80mg, could save 17 lives a year and will mean that the most vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and motorcyclists, will see a reduction in the number of accidents. The move means that Scotland is on a par with other European countries, but creates a disparity between the limits north and south of the border. It has been suggested that signs will be put up on the border reminding drivers that there is a lower limit so that they do not enter the country with too much alcohol in their blood.

Evidence from the British Medical Association shows that drivers who have 80mg of alcohol per 100ml, equivalent to just a pint and a half of lager, are 10 times more likely to crash than those who have no alcohol in their blood. This shows that even relatively small amounts of alcohol cause a significant risk to road users. Reaction times are much longer and it is this that is most likely to cause an accident involving a motorcycle.

According to Josh Owen of The Biker Store in Kent, “the new limit will deter those who still take risks with their drinking, but is a more practical solution than imposing a zero limit”. Alcohol is present in some mouthwashes and in foodstuffs such as sherry trifle or liqueur chocolates, so a total ban could result in instances of arrests after a meal out when no alcohol has been drunk.

The new lower limit does not eliminate all of the increased risks that are associated with alcohol, as drivers with the lower level of alcohol in their bloodstream are still twice as likely to crash as those with none. However, proponents claim it is a significant improvement on the previous regulations and a welcome step forward in the battle against drink driving.

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