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MSPs vote to lower drink-drive limit

MSPs have voted to back the Scottish National Party’s [SNP] plan to cut the drink-drive limit from the current UK-wide level of 80mg of alcohol to 50mg, following a consultation that ends on 29 November.

MSPs passed the motion by 100 votes to 12. Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill suggested up to half the average 30 deaths a year caused by drink-driving could be saved if the limit was reduced.

He said: “The people of Scotland are fed-up with drink-drivers and their poor excuses. It is both remarkable and tragic that a significant minority of drivers still ignore the warnings.

“We believe the current limit has had its day. The time is right for a change that will bring Scotland in line with the vast majority of Europe.”

Mr MacAskill also called for greater powers to implement additional measures in tackling drink-driving, including differential limits for young and novice drivers, and random testing, a proposal which Labour justice spokesman Lewis MacDonald said he was “not, in principle, opposed to”.

But Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said the lower limit could have “unintended consequences”. He said: “The people who are drinking and driving and causing many of the accidents, injuries and deaths are people who are already two or three or five times over the legal limit as it stands today.”

For more information on the Scottish Government's drink-driving consultation, click here