Transport Minister hints at a lower drink drive limit

In December 2014, the Scottish drink drive limit was slashed from 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 30mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Yesterday, 09 February 2016 Transport Minister Andrew Jones hinted that the government might consider lowering the drink drive limit in England and Wales, depending on the experience in Scotland, reflecting on when their drink drive limit was reduced over a year ago.

Mr  Jones said:

“I am intending to discuss with the Scottish minister the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and the timescales to get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact,”

“It is important to base our decisions on evidence and the Scottish experience will be crucial to that before we consider any possible changes to limits in England and Wales. This government’s current position, however, remains to focus resources on enforcing against the most serious offenders.”

How is it working in Scotland?

The latest figures show that since the drink drive limit was lowered in Scotland, the number of drink driving offences fell by 12.5% in the following 9 months. It is believed that a large contributing factor to this reduction is a change in behaviour, with most motorists opting to avoid alcohol altogether if they need to drive. I would of course agree that the easiest way to ensure that you are under the drink drive limit is to follow the ‘none for the road’ strategy.  However a lower limit raises potential issues ‘the morning after’; placing motorists at an increased risk of driving with too much alcohol in their system.

Drunk on the commute to work?

The President of the AA, Edmund King said

“With a lower limit, drivers will also have to be aware of being over the limit the morning after. Our research shows that almost 20 per cent of drivers have driven the morning after when they believed they could be over the limit.”

Even at the current levels, I regularly represent drivers who are accused of drink driving after unwittingly driving to work following the consumption of alcohol the night before. If the limit is  lowered by a third, there could be an even larger number of otherwise law abiding motorists brought before the Court and criminalised for what is considered a serious offence.

The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to work out exactly when you would be safe to drive. The strength and amount of alcohol consumed are fundamental factors, but this is complicated by the fact that everybody metabolises alcohol at a different rate depending on individual characteristics, such as height, weight and build,

What would a drink driving conviction mean?

A person who is convicted of drink driving can expect to receive an automatic disqualification from driving for at least 12 months, a fine of up to £5000 and possibly even community service or a prison sentence.

Drink driving is a serious offence which can have long lasting consequences. Although there are many defences available to this charge, the simplest solution would be to avoid having alcohol in your system at the time of driving in the first place, regardless of the level of the drink driving limit.  For more information about drink driving, visit the dedicated drink driving section of our website.


Article written by Expert Motoring Law Solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law Ltd, Alison Ashworth.

Ashworth Motoring Law are specialists in drink driving defences and our expert motoring law solicitors have outstanding success rates when representing motorists for drink driving offences. If you would like to speak to a specialist drink driving solicitor about your case, call our local rate motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 for a free assessment of your case.  Lines are open round the clock so get in touch whenever’s best for you.

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