New rules can make one drink too many

Chief Inspector David Bruce
Chief Inspector David Bruce

By now, drivers will be aware of the new alcohol limits coming into force on Friday, December 5.

This is the first change to limits in nearly half a century and will bring scotland into line with most other states in the european union.

The limits relate to the number of milligram’s of alcohol contained in blood, breath or urine.

In simple terms the limits are being reduced by around one third and are being set at a level where there is broad agreement that driving is impaired.

The very same date will also be the start of the national festive road safety campaign and the new alcohol limits could see and additional 35 drivers per week lose their licence.

In fact, equipment is being recalibrated in advance of the changes and motorists will be aware of greater road policing activity.

I have no doubt that over the coming week’s motorists and the public will see a blizzard of statistics produced by the police and other agencies to raise awareness of the new limits.

One example is - you are six times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident between the present limit and the planned new lower level compared with having no alcohol in your system.

Yet what is simpler to understand is that last year in Scotland nearly 20 men, woman and children were killed as a result of drunk driving.

Nearly 680 others received injuries such as loss of limbs, brain damage or permanent disfigurement because of a drunk motorist.

The effects on the loved ones of those killed or injured can be devastating.

Children will lose a mum or dad and vice versa. The hopes and aspirations of a child or young person will be dashed because of disability.

Financial stability can be lost in a moment or a future changed forever by a lifetime of caring responsibilities. the effects are compounded by the knowledge that it was caused by the thoughtless or reckless irresponsibility of another person.

The impact on anybody convicted of drink driving can be severe and regularly includes prison.

Many of those convicted suffer loss of employment and the financial disruption can mean loss of a family home and the breakdown of marriages and relationships.

Many drunk drivers suffer life long guilt and humiliation because of the impact of their conduct.

Individuals who have gone through life and had no contact with the criminal justice system may find themselves held in police custody until a court appearance followed by swift justice.

I would urge you to ignore the many guides that give advice on what you can drink but still be under the limit.

The internet is full of graphs based on size, sex, metabolic rates and all sorts of information designed to give you confidence that a certain amount of alcohol will keep you under the limit and out of the hands of the police

Please don’t trust these sites or other bold announcements such as one pint of beer or a small glass of wine is guaranteed to pass the breathalyser test.

I can assure you that 29 years of policing has taught me the only guaranteed way for anybody to be to be safe and under the limit is not to take any alcohol.

The lower limits increase the likelihood of exceeding the limit on ‘the morning after’.

As I prepare this article a middle aged lady is in police custody after failing a breath test at 7am this morning.

She was involved in a bump which was not of her making. Officers attended smelled alcohol and discovered she had been at a family celebration yesterday evening.

She has never been in trouble with the police before but carelessness has resulted in her unfortunate predicament.

Drink driving is a serious offence and being caught means a concrete police cell with a thin vinyl mattress and a safety blanket.

If you have ever driven in the knowledge you were probably over the limit, or been in doubt but decided to take a chance, take a moment to consider the potential impact on you or others.

It’s simply not worth the chance and last year in Cumbernauld 102 drivers found out why.

Please keep yourself safe and don’t take a chance.

Your life and the life of others may depend on it.