THIS time of year is party season but in the run up to the festivities, drivers in Scotland are being reminded that when it comes to getting behind the wheel after having an alcoholic drink, “the best approach is none”.
This month’s festive awareness campaign from the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland (part of Transport Scotland) has the message that there is zero tolerance for “just one” drink before driving, as well as highlighting the consequences of being found guilty of drink driving.
Scotland led the way across the UK when, in December 2014, the law was changed to reduced the legal alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.
That means that just one unit of alcohol could you put a driver over the legal blood alcohol limit and so it is better to avoid drinking alcohol before driving altogether.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson launched the month-long enforcement and awareness campaign in Edinburgh with Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone and Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle.
This month Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign will put an increased number of patrols on Scotland’s roads.
Last year one in 30 drivers stopped during the festive season was over the legal limit, compared with one in 35 motorists drink driving over the same period in previous year.
More than 20,000 drivers are stopped by the police every month but the campaign reminds those considering travel after celebrations that in the eyes of the law it doesn’t matter if you’re only slightly over the limit, you are still a drunk driver and a criminal – and there is no grey area.
In a similar enforcement in the lead up to Christmas last year, in Edinburgh 38 drivers were found to be over the legal driving limit, while in the Lothians and Scottish Borders 59 were caught and in Fife, 49.
Police Scotland as a whole reported 388 drivers failing the breath test in the days between 2 and 19 December 2016.
Matheson, says: “Unfortunately there is a persistent minority of drivers who continue to ignore the law.
“These people are not only risking their own lives and licences, but are risking the safety of other road users and pedestrians by drinking and driving.
“This campaign reinforces that drink driving is unacceptable and, if you get caught, you will get a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record for a lengthy period and a substantial fine.
“Furthermore, a drink driving conviction can have significant social and employment consequences.
“I welcome the action being taken by Road Safety Scotland and Police Scotland to tackle those who think it is OK to have just one drink and drive their car, as well as reckless road users, both of whom are breaking the law.”
Livingstone, added: It’s disappointing that some drivers are continuing to take unnecessary risks, affecting their own safety and that of other road users.
“Police Scotland has a zero tolerance policy on drink driving and over the festive period we will be increasing our
activity to ensure those risk takers are removed from the road.
“We’re urging people to plan ahead to help keep our roads safe during the party season.
“Think about how you’re going to get home before you go out, and don’t forget about any journeys you’ll make the morning after.”
For more information visit dontriskit.info, the Road Safety Scotland Facebook pages and Twitter (@roadsafetyscot).
This article has been provided in partnership with the Scottish Government.