Drink drive limit must be reduced

First Minister Alex Salmond has said that the drink drive limit must be reduced to toughen up the law.

The First Minister was responding to a question from SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands David Thompson.

Mr Thompson asked the First Minister if he would support moves to lower the limit for blood alcohol from the current UK level of 80 mg to the European level of 50mg.

Alex Salmond said;

"The limit should be reduced,"

"In our view, the evidence to support a reduction is extremely strong.

"I think there's a growing consensus on this both north and south of the border.

"The current drink-driving limit was set over 40 years ago. We believe the time is right to look at this again."

"We are therefore disappointed that the consultation document on road safety compliance, published on November 20, did not include a direct question on lowering the drink-drive limit."

The Association of Chief Police Officers, the BMA and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have called  for a reduction in the drink-driving limit.

Welcoming the First Minister's comments Dave Thompson said;

"A big step forward in tackling the issue of drink-driving would be to bring Scotland in line with most other European countries by reducing the legal limit to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood,"

"It is very welcome that the First Minister has made this unequivocal statement on the drink-driving limit. Drink driving remains a significant problem in our society and we must take action.

"Unfortunately whilst police in Scotland can carry out breath tests and we do take action to educate drivers the real steps to tighten the drink drive limit have to be taken by the UK Government.

"The UK Government is taking too long and must bring forward a consultation and proposals now to help combat drink driving problems."