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Drink Drive Limits - Possible Changes Ahead

Scotland Leads the Way

Recently Scotland has been at the forefront for introducing legislation promoting safety and health.  When it comes to the fight against drink driving, Scotland is now leading the way in the UK.  As of the 5th December 2014, Scotland lowered it’s drink drive limit to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.  The limit used to be the same as ours which is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.  Northern Ireland is due to follow Scotland’s example shortly.

Will England and Wales follow Scotland's Example?

England and Wales, along with Malta, are the only countries in Europe still supporting the 80 milligram limit.  Every other country has a lower drink drive limit.  However, our transport minister Andrew Jones recently said that there are no plans to lower the drink drive limit in England and Wales to bring it inline with Scotland.  Road safety campaigners have urged ministers to learn from Scotland’s move and the obvious impact it has had on road safety.  Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, has said “Our own research estimates a cut in the limit could save around 25 lives annually.”  The Government has, however, said that the current limit strikes a balance between safety and personal freedom.

What Would be the Implications if the Drink Drive Limit in England and Wales was Lowered?

If we did follow Scotland’s example and lower our drink driving limit many people have said that in practical terms it would mean that an average man could drink just under a pint of beer and still be below the limit and a woman could drink up to half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine and be within the limit.  However, at Speeding Law Solicitors, we believe it is not that simple.  In fact the amount of alcohol to take someone over the drink drive limit varies from person to person.  It depends on a large amount of factors, including;

  • The person’s sex (males will normally process alcohol faster than females)
  • How much a person weighs
  • The individual’s metabolic rate
  • Whether that person is stressed
  • The age of the person
  • When they last ate
  • Whether they are taking certain medication

This list is not exhaustive and there are a host of other complex factors.  We believe that it is just too complicated to work out when you are or are not below the limit, as it depends on that particular individual.  If England does eventually fall into line with Scotland and lower the drink drive limit, the advice from Speeding Law Solicitors is to abstain from drinking completely on a night out.

If you are accused of drink driving, or indeed any motoring offence, then telephone Philip Hatvany, our specialist motoring law solicitor, now for a FREE telephone consultation on FREEPHONE 0800 909 8110.