Police Scotland warn motorists of drink driving dangers

SCOTS motorists are being warned of the dangers of drink driving as Police Scotland gear up their annual festive crackdown.

Last year police carried out 3,049 roadside tests in December – with 722 drivers detected for drink or drug offences.

The failure rate of 24% means that nearly one in four drivers were found to be over the limit.

Police Scotland’s December drink driving detections rose by 15% from 2021 to 2022.

This compares with 2,965 tests and 628 failures in 2021 – so detections were up by 15%.

The latest data from Transport Scotland estimates that 210 people were injured in accidents where a driver was over the legal limit in 2021, including 10 deaths.

Separate crime figures show there were 3,555 convictions in Scotland for driving ‘under the influence’ (DUI) in 2021-22. 

Hunter Abbott from personal breathalyser firm AlcoSense commented: “This was a sharp rise on the year before (2,718 people convicted) although that year was severely impacted by the Covid pandemic with court closures and less traffic on the road.”

Analysis of crime data by AlcoSense shows that Glasgow is the DUI hotspot of Scotland with 942 offences in 2022-23, higher than anywhere else in the country and up by a third over the past decade.

Next worst were North Lanarkshire (820 DUI offences), Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire (650), Highland (574) and the City of Edinburgh (499).  

The Scottish islands were found at the bottom of the table with Orkney (23) and Shetland (28) the best behaved amongst Scots.

The Scottish drink drive limit was lowered in December 2014 from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood (0.80‰ BAC) to 50mg (0.50‰ BAC).

Penalties for breaking the law in Scotland can include a 12-month driving ban, a £5,000 fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record. 

Causing death by careless driving through drink can result in a 14 year prison sentence. 

Mr Abbot said: “Police always step up roadside breath testing during the Christmas and Hogmanay party season.

“If you drink four pints of medium-strong beer or four large glasses of wine, it can take as long as 14 hours for the alcohol to clear your system.

“Even with just 10mg per 100ml of alcohol in your blood (one fifth of the legal limit in Scotland) you are 37% more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when completely sober.

“The rules are simple, if you’ve been drinking in the evening, don’t drive. 

“If you’re driving the next day, test yourself to make sure you’re clear of alcohol from the night before as one in five drink drive convictions are in the morning.”