Drink-driving offences plummet in first quarter following introduction of stricter limit

Drink-driving offences in Scotland have plummeted after a change in the law last year which means drivers can be over the limit after only one pint of beer or glass of wine.

Official figures indicate that offences have declined by 17 per cent in the first quarter following the inception of the stricter limit last December.

In the first three months of this year, the number of drivers found to have exceeded the limit dropped to 997 as compared with 1,209 in the same period last year.

Road-safety campaigners called on England and Wales to follow Scotland’s example, citing the numbers as proof motorists have changed their drinking habits in line with the new law.

The police have warned they will breath-test a driver every two minutes over the summer as part of their yearly crackdown on drink-drivers.

Chief superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing, said: “Police stop more than 20,000 Scottish drivers a month. That’s one vehicle every two minutes.

“Even if you’re just over the limit, you’re still a drink-driver in the eyes of the law – there is no grey area.

“This may affect your current and future employment, and can have wider implications for other areas of your life including overseas travel, even just for family holidays.

“If you drink and drive, you won’t just spoil summer.”

The new limit has hit the pub trade hard with licensed premises saying in March that their sales had fallen by 10 per cent since December.

A survey of over 400 establishments undertaken by the industry said millions of pounds had been lost in alcohol sales as people stay in their homes or have soft drinks instead of alcohol.

Safety campaigners, however, have welcomed the news.

Dave Nichols, spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: “These figures show the UK government needs to take action and bring England and Wales into line with the lower limit in Scotland.”

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