From Police Scotland:
New statistics from Police Scotland have revealed that the message not to risk drink driving has been ignored by a number of drivers across the Lothians and Scottish Borders.
The new lower drink drive limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood came into force on 5 December 2014, bringing Scotland into line with much of the rest of Europe. During a four week festive Drink Drive campaign from Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland) and the Scottish Government, Police Scotland tested 1090 drivers in the four districts for alcohol, with 34 drivers caught under the influence this year compared to 24 in the same period last year. Of those caught drink driving in the Lothians and Borders, one driver was detected between the new 50mg limit and the previous limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Those caught now face the New Year without a licence, a minimum 20-year criminal record and a fine.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, said: “With the drink drive limit now lowered in Scotland, our advice for the year ahead is simple – drink driving is completely unacceptable and puts lives at risk therefore the best approach is to avoid alcohol altogether if you intend to get behind the wheel. We will continue in our efforts to change driver behaviour in order to make our roads safer.
“Scotland has led the way across the UK with the introduction of a lower drink drive limit, which has backing from experts, road safety campaigners and the majority of the public north and south of the border, and brings Scotland into line with almost every other country in Europe.”
With the Christmas and New Year festivities now over, motorists are being reminded that the message not to drink any alcohol at all before driving and to plan journeys the next morning, remains relevant all year round.
Inspector Richard Latto, Roads Policing lead in the Lothians and Borders, said: “The initial campaign may be over, but our work continues and the message remains the same – don’t risk it, don’t take any alcohol before you get behind the wheel and it will help you help us keep people safe.
“The new limit is proving a good deterrent in stopping people from drinking and driving, but it is still unacceptable that 34 people chose to ignore all the advice and warnings and get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. They are not just risking their lives but also those of other road users and pedestrians.
“Make it your New Year’s resolution to never drink and drive and help us keep the Lothians and Borders’ roads safe.”
The introduction of the new lower limit was supported by a public awareness campaign ahead of the legislation taking effect. This was followed by a high profile social marketing campaign over the festive period across TV, radio, video-on-demand, digital, PR, field activity and partnership working.
The campaign urged members of the public not to drink and drive and advised festive revellers to plan ahead when it came to their travel home from a night out and any journeys in the morning.
The campaign also sought to remind drivers of the tough legal and personal consequences of a drink drive conviction, which include a loss of licence with an automatic 12 month driving ban and a minimum 20 year criminal record.
Although the festive period is now over, Police vigilance will remain at the same level throughout 2015 and the same consequences apply if motorists chose to drink and drive.
Find out more by visiting www.dontriskit.info or the Road Safety Scotland Facebook page or follow @RoadSafetyScot on Twitter.