Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Thursday, 1 November 2012

Drink driving debate 1

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill called on MSPs to help "tackle the scourge of drink driving head on" by supporting his proposal to reduce the drink drive limit, during a debate on the issue on 1 November 2012.

The Scottish government is planning to lower the limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood down to 50mg and its consultation on the issue is nearing a conclusion.

Last week the Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2011 report was published.

Some key findings were:

• 750 casualties were estimated to be due to drink-drive accidents in Scotland in 2010.

• Around 20 deaths were estimated to be due to drink-drive accidents in Scotland in 2010

• This is a fall on 2009 but the average for the last five years remains at 30 deaths.

Mr MacAskill said "Our central message always has, and always will be 'don't drink and drive'. "

He added: "The Independent Review of Drink and Drug Law conducted by Sir Peter North in 2010 recommended that reducing the drink drive limit from 80mg to 50mg will save lives."

"It is estimated that between 3 and 17 Scottish lives could be saved."

Scottish Labour's justice spokesperson Lewis Macdonald welcomed the decision to consult on the issue but said it was important to address the resource implications for the police of the changes proposed by the government.

Mr Macdonald said there was "widespread concern about the risk of police officers being removed from the front line" to replace civilian staff and said there had to be a practical capacity for the justice system to deal with any change.

Alex Johnstone, the Scottish Conservative MSP, said "It is my belief that we should not be tolerating drinking and driving in Scotland today and that the limit should be set so we save more lives."

In his motion, Mr Johnstone said "any change must not be implemented until its effect on police efforts to focus on the most dangerous examples of this serious crime is fully explored and properly identified".

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

Drink driving debate 2


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