Scotland could go it alone in cutting legal alcohol-limit

Scotland could go it alone in cutting legal alcohol-limit Source – The Herald Plans to lower the legal drink-drive limit could go ahead in Scotland despite the UK Government yesterday rejecting any change to the law. The Scottish Government said it would take action at an “early opportunity” once the Scotland Bill is passed and responsibility for the issue is devolved. However, a decision will only be made following the Holyrood election on May 5. The announcement came after the UK Government said it would not implement the recommendation of a Whitehall-commissioned report by Sir Peter North to reduce the legal limit for drivers from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “It is disappointing that Westminster has failed to reduce the existing limit. “The current limit simply leaves too much room for confusion and sends out the wrong message,” the spokesman said. “Throughout this parliament, we have been calling on the Westminster Government to take action to lower it UK-wide or to transfer the powers to Scotland to allow us to do it. “Now that they have begun that process of transferring powers through the Scotland Bill, we will take action to lower the limit at an early opportunity.” Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said improving enforcement rather than lowering the limit was likely to have more impact on drivers who “flagrantly ignore” current regulations. The decision not to cut the limit was criticised by motoring organisations, which described it as “disappointing” and a “missed opportunity”. However, the AA welcomed the fact that roadside testing could now be used in court evidence, reducing the possibility of alcohol levels dropping before offenders get to a police station. As part of a package of measures, key changes will be made to streamline the enforcement of drink and drug-driving laws, Mr Hammond said. The UK Government will also examine the case for a new specific drug-driving offence, in addition to an existing one. It would remove the need for the police to prove impairment on a case-by-case basis where a specified drug has been detected. Mr Hammond said: “Drink-driving and drug-driving are serious offences and we are determined to ensure they are detected and punished effectively. We need to take tough action against the small minority of drivers who flagrantly ignore the limit.

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