New Scottish Drink Drive Limits

New Scottish Drink Drive Limits

The new reduced Scottish drink driving limits come in to force as soon as the calendar changes to Friday the 5th of December. This means, you will need to begin thinking about the limit on Thursday 4th December, for a drive home late that night or the morning after.

Thursday 4th December and the New Scottish Drink Drive Limits – Why Thursday matters


The limit for a breath reading is being reduced from 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath to 22 micrograms. This brings the possibility that a person could be driving within the law before midnight with a reading perhaps of 30 mcg and then find that as the clock turns to Friday they are in fact committing a drink driving offence as their alcohol level exceeds the new limit of 22. Accordingly great care should be taken by any person who consumes alcohol on the Thursday evening and then later drives. The only safe advice to provide now is to say that no alcohol should be taken before driving.

Drinking on the Thursday evening will also be of relevance to what are often referred to as "morning after" or "next day "drink driving offences. Such terms cover situations where a person has been drinking the day or the night before driving but then doesn't leave sufficient time for the alcohol to clear from their system before driving the next day.

With the permitted levels being significantly reduced, it is widely thought that many drivers will find themselves being prosecuted for offences of this nature. The courts do take the circumstances of the each offence in to account and would recognise that the person had made an error of judgement – especially if the drink drive reading is low and just above the drink drive level . However the court must always impose at least 12 months disqualification for every drink driving offence, no matter how the offence actually came about or the impact of the disqualification on the accused. Accordingly great care should be taken by any person driving the day after consuming alcohol the previous evening – the new limits are significantly lower than what was previously allowed.

To make sure you stay on the right side of the law (if not always the limits) please read our Drink Driving Law in Scotland Guide Guide. The guide takes you through the entire drink driving offence process from being stopped to sentencing, providing practical guidance on what you should do.

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