Kenny MacAskill, Scotland’s justice secretary, has introduced an order in Parliament which, subject to approval, will mean a reduced drink-drive limit will come into effect on 5 December 2014.
Under the plans, Scotland’s blood alcohol limit will reduce from 80mg in every 100 ml of blood, to 50 mg in every 100 ml of blood, bringing Scotland into line with most other European countries.
The Scottish Government previously announced its intention to reduce the limit following a consultation which found almost three quarters of those who responded believed the drink-drive limit should be reduced.
The consultation responses suggested the likely benefits of a lower limit would be fewer road collisions and casualties. There are currently 20 drink-drive related deaths annually on Scotland’s roads.
A marketing campaign to raise awareness of the new lower limit will be launched in the coming weeks.
Kenny MacAskill said: “I have said before that I am determined we do everything we can to make our roads safer and save lives.
“The latest estimates show that approximately one in 10 deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit and research shows that even just one alcoholic drink before driving can make you three times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.
“As a result, 20 families every year have to cope with the loss of a loved one and around 760 people are treated for injuries caused by someone who thought it was acceptable to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel and drive. We cannot let this continue.
“That’s why I have today introduced legislation to lower the drink drive limit in Scotland so that, subject to parliamentary approval, new laws will be in place in time for the beginning of the festive period.
“This new limit will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and send a clear message to drivers who continue to ignore the warnings that there is never an excuse to drink and drive.
“Lowering the drink drive limit will help make Scotland’s roads safer. It is the right thing to do, and most importantly, it will save lives meaning that fewer families have to go through the heartache of a loved one lost”.
Sandy Allan, RoSPA’s road safety manager in Scotland, said: “RoSPA welcomes and strongly supports the Scottish Government’s decision to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland, which we believe will save lives and prevent injuries on Scotland’s roads.
“There is a considerable body of research which shows that reducing drink-drive limits is effective in reducing drink-drive deaths and injuries. We would like to see the rest of the UK follow Scotland’s example.”