Scotland and Lithuania lower drink drive limits

  • December 6, 2014

Scotland has begun enforcing a new drink driving limit of 0.5 g/l, while Lithuania will introduce a zero tolerance limit for some commercial and novice drivers from next month.

Scotland’s limit is now lower than the rest of the UK which still has the weakest in Europe at 0.8 g/l. The new limits, which came into force on 5 December, are supported by ETSC’s UK member PACTS.  The organisation says the limits should be extended to the rest of the UK as the current limit allows drivers to get behind the wheel when drunk.

“People don’t realise that 80mg is a lot of alcohol. They’ll feel quite drunk at 80,” said executive director David Davies.

“The Government reluctance is very disappointing. We don’t think there would be massive public opposition.

A poll by the UK Institute of Advanced Motorists of 2,632 drivers in October revealed that 68 per cent would like the new Scottish limit to be introduced south of the border.

“England and Wales are now totally out of step with drink-drive limits across the rest of Europe,” said Neil Greig, IAM’s director of policy and research.

“Different limits are also a recipe for confusion and the IAM would urge the Westminster government to review its approach as a matter of urgency.”

Lithuania, which has a general 0.4 limit, has also announced that it will introduce a zero tolerance approach for some commercial drivers and novice drivers from January.

Ireland reduced its drink driving limit to 0.5 g/l in 2011 with a 0.2 limit for novice and professional drivers. The country has made impressive progress on cutting road deaths overall, and their measures on drink driving are seen as an important contributor.

Switzerland went from 0.8 to 0.5 in 2005. There was a 44% reduction in alcohol-related deaths in the period 2005 to 2008, compared to the period 2002 to 2004 according to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, an ETSC member.

See: ETSC list of BAC limits across Europe