Did The Change in Drink Driving Laws Help Scotland?

January 21, 2015

It was only a few weeks back that we reported Scotland were making the positive change of lowering the legal alcohol limit for driving. Their decision meant they were in line with the rest of Europe and the new law came into play on December 5th, just in time for the risky festive period. Whether or not it has made a difference to the number of people found to be driving under the influence has been discussed at length and figures from Police Scotland suggest it has made a positive difference.

Figures released just last week show that 351 drivers, as opposed to 434 in 2013 were detected whilst under the influence throughout the Christmas and New Year period. This equates to a 19% reduction in the number of offenders caught which suggests that the change in law has led to some change in attitude. It suggests that more people are wary of the amount they’re drinking.

Of course this campaign is just the beginning and many leading road safety charities and campaigners are hoping the rest of the UK will follow suit. Scotland is proud to be leading the way for the rest of the UK when it comes to protecting our roads from the high risks caused by drink driving and the change in law is slowly delivering a change in driver behaviour.

Looking at the statistics it is still a worry that 351 were caught drink driving and this is a figure which is unacceptable as these drivers could have been involved in serious accidents and being on the road at all poses a serious risk to themselves and all other road users.

Police and road safety campaigners’ statistics suggest that as many as 20 people a year die on Scottish roads because of drivers drinking too much alcohol and then getting behind the wheel. In 2013/14 a further 90 were seriously injured due to drink-driving related incidents and 340 suffered slight injuries.

Pint of Beer

50mg per 100ml

The volume of alcohol which equals the new limit of 50mg per 100ml of blood depends on the individual taking in factors such as their weight, age and the strength of their chosen drink. A rough guideline suggests that 50mg measure to around just under a pint or a large glass of wine for an average man and a half pint or small glass of wine for a woman. Understandably road safety campaigners and the police believe it simply isn’t safe to get behind the wheel having drunk any alcohol.

As professional personal injury solicitors we work with many clients who have been involved in road traffic accidents and some involving drivers under the influence of alcohol at the wheel. With the changes in Scotland having a positive effect and genuinely changing driver behaviour, maybe they’ll consider rolling out the change across the UK.