Tightened drink-drive laws in Scotland ‘could catch drivers unaware’
• Limit cut from threshold of 80mg to per 100ml of blood to just 50mg
• Concerns raised that drivers crossing border by accident could be hit
• Penalty is up to 6 months in prison, £5,000 fine and obligatory ban
By RAY MASSEY, TRANSPORT EDITOR
Motorists face confusion after Scotland tonight voted to lower its drink-drive limit from UK to Continental levels.
It means English drivers and holidaymakers inadvertently crossing the winding border from Northumberland and Cumbria into Scotland could be arrested for drink-driving in Scotland while still being safely within the limit for the rest of the UK.
They could lose their licence and their liberty for the offence which currently carries 6 months imprisonment, a £5,000 fine and an obligatory ban.
The Scottish Parliament gave its unanimous backing to reducing the drink-drive limit from the current UK limit of 80mg to per 100ml of blood, to just 50mg per 100ml, the standard used in most of Europe
Under the Scottish drink-drive change, the limit will be cut from the existing limit of 80mg to per 100ml of blood to just 50mg – the limit used across much of Continental Europe.
Families visiting a country pub near Carlisle in Cumbria, or Berwick in Northumberland, or having a run through the Kielder forest could fall foul of the changes if they stray into Scottish territory.
The border runs at a steep incline from Gretna, just North of Carlisle in the South West to Berwick in the North East, and many rural roads do not tell drivers that they are crossing it.
The reduced drink-drive limit was formally approved by Members of the devolved Scottish Parliament who debated lowering the limit before voting on an order which will allow the reduced limit to come into effect on December 5, in time for the festive season.
But motoring groups warned it could be ‘ a recipe for confusion.’