The new drink driving laws may have only been introduced on Scottish roads at the beginning of December, but it seems that they, along with the police message that any alcohol is too much, appear to be getting through. The number of people arrested for drink-driving since the new laws were introduced on 8th December have reduced by more than a quarter when compared to the year before.
Some sceptics have said that the most important figure is that of the number of alcohol related accidents, and that the changes cannot be considered a success unless the number of accidents caused by drink driving has reduced. For now, though, ministers, police, and campaigners have taken the reductions as being a positive sign of the new limits proving a successful deterrent to drivers.
On 8th December, Scotland reduced its drink driving limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath down to its current level of 50mg per 100ml. England and Wales have retained the 80mg limit, but Scotland joins parts of Ireland and a growing number of European countries that have adopted the stricter limits. Westminster has said that they do not have plans to reduce the limit in England and Wales, while Scotland have said that they are discussing the possibility of trying to reduce the limit even further for new drivers and for the drivers of buses and lorries.
Plans to reduce the limit were largely supported, although some critics pointed to the disparity in the limits between Scotland and England and the confusion that they might cause. Others said that there was a very real danger that the police would vilify potential drink drivers and ignore harder criminals that were committing acts that might be deemed as being more serious.
In total, 255 of 13,346 drivers that were tested between 8th and 31st December tested over the limit, comparing extremely favourably to the 348 that were stopped during the same period in 2013. This equates to a 27% reduction, and many have said that this is due to the fact that the new lower limit means that drivers are unwilling to risk drinking at all before getting behind the wheel.