Legal drink-driving limit in Scotland

One drink can put you over the limit

In Scotland the legal limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood (equivalent to 22mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath). Even if you’re just over the limit, in the eyes of the law you’re a drunk-driver and a criminal – there is no grey area.

The reason for the 50mg legal limit

The legal limit is not an allowance, it’s there to cover different people’s metabolisms, those suffering diabetes, plus the effects of mouthwash. As always, the best approach is none.

Myths about drinking and driving:

  • False: eating absorbs alcohol so it’s ok to have one or two drinks with a meal
  • False: coffee or water sobers you up
  • False: a cold shower sobers you up
  • False: being in the fresh air gets alcohol out your system more quickly

If you see someone get into their car after drinking – you should take action

If it’s someone you know then perhaps the polite suggestion of calling a cab might do it. However, if it’s a stranger, or you don’t feel safe confronting your friend, then you can either alert the bar or security staff or call the police. Before you call the police make sure you have a note of:

  • The car registration number
  • Description of the person
  • Description of the vehicle
  • Location

The breathalyser never gets it wrong

If the police want to check whether you’re over the drink drive limit, they’ll do a breathalyser test at the roadside.

If you fail the test, or refuse to take it, you’ll be arrested and taken to the police station and asked to provide a further two breath specimens into a more advanced breathalyser. If you fail, or continue to refuse, you will be charged and this evidence could then be used to prosecute later down the line. Refusal can also lead to your car being forfeited.

The best approach is none.

Don’t drink and drive.