Scotland Drink Driving Laws Different to the rest of the UK

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re under the legal limit especially if you are in Scotland and not familiar with their drink driving laws. One of our friends was recently in Scotland and was unaware of the law changes in 2014.

What’s the drink drive limit in Scotland?

The alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland is different than in the rest of the UK. In December 2014 the limit was reduced to 50 milligrammes of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood4. The breath alcohol equivalent reduced to 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath5.

The Scottish Government say they have changed their drink drive limit to bring Scotland in line with most other European countries, to save lives and make Scotland’s roads safer.

What’s the punishment if I get caught drink driving?

Drunk drivers face a number of penalties depending on the seriousness of their offence. Anyone caught over the legal alcohol limit when driving will be banned from driving for at least 12 months, and fined up to £5,000. You can also be given between three to 11 penalty driving points. And you could be sent to prison for up to six months. Imprisonment, the period of disqualification, size of fine and penalty points depend on the seriousness of the offence8.
If you’re caught drink driving more than once in a 10 year period, you’ll be banned for at least three years.

How to ensure you don’t drink and drive

  • Arrange within your group of friends who’s going to be the designated driver. A designated driver is the person who abstains from alcohol on a night out so they can drive the rest of their group of friends home safely.
  • If you live somewhere with good public transport links – take advantage of them. If you’re planning on staying out beyond the last train, tube or bus, make sure you’ve got a couple of taxi numbers. 
  • If you have no option but to drive, stick to zero alcohol beers, mocktails or standard soft drinks. 
  • Not every night out has to involve a bar or pub – book a table at a restaurant or try one of our alcohol-free nights ideas.
  • Find out if you are safe to drive the morning after drinking.

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