Legal limit in Scotland

So what are the limits for drinking and driving? And what’s the 50mg lower limit all about anyway? Here are some answers to the common questions around drink driving limits in Scotland.

Is it okay to have one drink and then drive home?

No, it’s not okay to have a drink and then drive home. In Scotland, the legal limit of alcohol is 50mg per 100ml of blood. The breath alcohol equivalent being 22 mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. This often means that just one drink could put you over the legal limit for driving. Our best advice is to plan head – make sure you know how to get home safely.

What’s the 50mg limit all about – why not have a ‘zero’ limit?

The legal limit is to cover different people’s metabolisms, those suffering diabetes, plus the effects of mouthwash.

How much can I drink and stay under the limit?

It’s not ok to drink and drive. Even one drink can take you over limit. The legal limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to compensate for people with different metabolism rates as well as diabetes sufferers, and the use of mouthwash.

How does alcohol affect my ability to drive?

Alcohol affects your judgement. This is your ability to think clearly, reason, plan ahead, and make decisions. It also affects your concentration which means you’re often unable to focus on more than one thing at a time. Then there’s your comprehension and your ability to understand and interpret road signs and signals. And of course, it messes with coordination, vision and crucially – reaction time.

Can I drive the morning after drinking alcohol?

You can drive the morning after drinking alcohol as long as you’re certain that it’s out of your system. Often people aren’t aware of how long it takes alcohol to pass through their body. There are online ‘morning after’ calculators available to help you estimate when you’ll be safe to drive.

How can I avoid drink driving?

There are several ways you can plan ahead to avoid drink driving:

  1. Drink zero alcohol beers, mocktails, or regular soft drinks.
  2. Make sure you’ve got some taxi numbers in your phone or know how to get home using public transport.
  3. Nominate a ‘designated driver’ who stays on the soft drinks and takes the group home at the end of the night.
  4. And if you really don’t trust yourself – hand over your car keys to a trusted friend or colleague.

Is it illegal to take drugs and drive?

It’s against the law to drive if:

  • Your driving is impaired because you’ve taken legal or illegal drugs
  • You have certain levels of illegal drugs in your system (even if they haven’t affected your driving)

The police can stop you and ask you to do a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think you might be under the influence of drugs. They can also screen you for cannabis and cocaine using a roadside drug kit.

If you’re unfit to drive due to the influence of drugs, you’ll be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station. You could be charged if the test shows you’ve taken drugs.