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Last Updated: Friday, 30 December 2005, 13:36 GMT
Drink-drive law 'worth reviewing'
Police officer
The SNP said the 30-year-old drink-drive limit should be reviewed
The man leading Scotland's campaign against drink-driving has said it may be time to review legal alcohol limits.

The Scottish National Party wants the limit to be cut from 80 milligrams in an attempt to tackle the growing problem of young drink-drivers.

Figures showed that the number of drink-drivers caught during the festive campaign this year had risen to 620.

Tayside Police's Chief Constable John Vine agreed there was a case to revisit the current laws.

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell has also called for the Scottish Parliament to be given powers to change the 30-year-old limit.

I think maybe the time is right for us to look at whether any lowering of the limit would be effective
Chief Constable John Vine
Tayside Police

Mr Maxwell said the number of under-21s convicted for drink-driving between 1996 and 2002 had risen by 38%.

Police caught more than 200 drink-drivers over the Christmas week in Scotland.

The figure brought to 620 the total number of motorists caught over the limit or refusing to give a breath test during the first three weeks of the drink-driving campaign, a rise of almost 10% on last year's figure of 566.

The current drink-driving limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood but Mr Maxwell pointed out that most other European countries have limits of 40-50 milligrams.

Driving performance

Chief Constable Vine said this year's apparent rise in drink-driving did give reason to consider how the law was operating.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "If we're out there enforcing the law then of course we're testing more drivers and arguably we will detect more drink-drive cases.

"But I think maybe the time is right for us to look at whether any lowering of the limit would be effective.

"What we need to do though is look at the variety of factors which might make up the picture that is emerging."

Breathalyser
More than 600 motorists have been caught over the festive period

The SNP's deputy health spokesman said he was concerned at the "alarming increase" in the number of under-21s convicted of drink-driving.

"Times have changed and there is a whole new generation of drivers who are now on Scotland's roads," he said.

One in six deaths of Scotland's roads was a direct result of drink-driving, and the problem was particularly bad over holiday periods like Christmas, he said.

"Figures show that in 2002 an estimated 50 people were killed on the roads due to drink-driving in Scotland and there were 11,061 recorded cases of drink-driving in 2004-5," he said.

"Even in small amounts, alcohol can affect driving performance."

He added: "The Scottish Parliament must have more powers to change the limit, as the matter is reserved to Westminster.

"I believe that a review of the drink-driving limit is needed, not only to bring us in line with the rest of Europe but also to reduce the injuries and deaths that happen on Scotland's roads as a direct result of alcohol."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Listen to the arguments for a change



SEE ALSO:
Drink-drive figures on the rise
29 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Learner caught over drink limit
13 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Drink drive figures slightly down
30 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Drink-drive arrests on the rise
22 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Warning for morning-after drivers
14 Dec 04 |  Scotland


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