Consultation launched on reducing Scotland's drink-drive limit

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Media captionCampaigners would like to see the limit effectively cut to zero

A consultation on plans to reduce the drink-driving limit has been launched by the Scottish government.

The current UK limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood has remained unchanged since 1966 and is the highest in the world.

By proposing the lower level of 50 milligrams, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he believed the change would save lives.

Road safety campaigners called for a "zero tolerance" approach.

Powers to alter the limit were given to Holyrood under the 2012 Scotland Act.

Driver 'confusion'

Ministers have made it clear they want to bring Scotland in line with most of continental Europe as soon as possible.

Labour and the Lib Dems support the move, although the Scottish Conservatives said the government had "yet to make the case" for reducing the limit.

Road safety charity Brake welcomed the Scottish government's plan, but campaigns officer Ellen Booth argued the moves should go further.

Ms Booth told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "It's certainly a step in the right direction, what we would say though is lowering it to 50 doesn't quite go far enough.

"Certainly there will still be a level of confusion amongst drivers."

She added: "We're saying the limit should be reduced to 20 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, which is effectively a zero tolerance approach so the message will be clear."

The justice minister was joined outside Holyrood by Deputy Chief Constable Tom Ewing, secretary of road policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), for the consultation launch.

'Devastating consequences'

Mr MacAskill said: "This government has made it clear that we want a lower drink-driving limit as we believe it will help make Scotland's roads safer.

"While drink-driving is now rightly recognised by the vast majority of motorists as dangerous and reckless, too many drivers still ignore the warnings and put lives at risk by drinking and driving.

"The consequences can be devastating for victims, their families and our communities.

"The launch of this consultation marks another important step in tackling the scourge of drink-driving."

Deputy Chief Constable Tom Ewing, secretary of road policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), said: "There is a clear link between drink-driving and road crashes which cause death or serious injury.

"Despite extensive campaigns by Acpos and our partners in law enforcement and government, it seems that the message is not getting through to all motorists that drinking and driving is dangerous, anti-social and against the law.

"We welcome an opportunity to take part in a wide consultation on a reduction of the current drink-drive limits."

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