The apparent success of the newly reduced drink driving limit in Scotland has spurred the country’s government into trying to introduce laws that would see the limit slashed even further for the drivers of buses and lorries. The idea has been suggested by an SNP backbencher, but this kind of change that would see different limits for different drivers, would need the backing of Westminster after gaining Holyrood approval.
Scottish ministers have said that they will be studying the idea, which would see bus and lorry drivers being limited to 30mg rather than the 50mg level which was introduced at the beginning of December. The rest of England and Wales has the same 80mg level that Scotland had until the changes took effect, and Westminster has said that it is not considering reducing the limit in the rest of the nation.
The drink driving limit in Scotland was reduced from its previous 80mg per 100ml of breath to the current 50mg from 5th December 2014. The changes were met with some criticism but were largely viewed as being positive and gained the support of drivers as well as ministers. The limit remained the same, the joint highest in Europe, 80mg throughout England and Wales, although parts of Ireland also have the 50mg limit set.
Buoyed by the apparent success of the reduction, Holyrood has announced that ministers will be discussing proposals put forward by one SNP backbencher that suggests further slashing the limits for bus and lorry drivers. Under the proposals, drivers of large and commercial vehicles would be limited to just 30mg of alcohol, but this change would not be as easy to pass for the Scottish government because it would need backing from the English parliament.
Although Holyrood is able to set its own drink drive limits, any additional or more complex changes such as the introduction of a variable limit would be require agreement from Westminster. There has also been some talk of reducing the limit for younger, newly qualified drivers, but this would again require full parliamentary backing before it could be introduced.