Festive drink-drive numbers fall by third in Scotland

pint of lager and car keys Image copyright PA

The number of motorists caught drink-driving in Scotland during the festive period has dropped by almost a third since last year.

Statistics from Police Scotland showed 255 people stopped by officers in the final three weeks of December were under the influence of drink or drugs.

The figure for the same time in 2013 was 348.

In all, 13,346 motorists were stopped and breathalysed by Police Scotland between 8 December and 29 December.

On 5 December, a new lower drink-drive limit was introduced in Scotland.

The legal limit in now 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, compared with the old limit of 80mg, which is still in place in England and Wales.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson MSP said: "The drink drive limit has now changed in Scotland.

"We are moving into a new phase of our high profile marketing campaign and are also reinforcing our message to motorists to heed advice and not get behind the wheel if they have consumed any alcohol at all.

"Drink-driving is completely unacceptable and puts innocent lives at risk.

"Our advice is simple. The best approach is to have no alcohol at all if you are intending to get behind the wheel of the car. Alcohol at any level impairs driving."

In depth: Drinking and driving

Image copyright Andrew Milligan

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, of Police Scotland, said: "In the last three weeks we have conducted a series of road checks around the country and we have breathalysed nearly 13,400 drivers. This equates to nearly 640 drivers being breathalysed each day.

"It is heartening therefore to see a reduction in the total numbers of drivers who are drinking before getting behind the wheel.

"The fact that 255 people have still chosen to do so and in doing so have put themselves and others needlessly at risk is still entirely unacceptable in my view.

"There is no doubt that the new limit, and what it means, is challenging a lot of people and we shall continue our efforts throughout the season and beyond to make sure that we reinforce the 'don't risk it' message, prevent deaths and collisions and make our roads safer."

Officers have urged members the public to contact them if they suspect anyone of drink-driving.

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