Drivers having one glass of wine or a pint of beer could find themselves over the limit under the Scottish Governments new drink-drive rules.
Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill introduced the order which means, subject to parliamentary approval, Scotland’s legal blood alcohol limit will be reduced from 80 milligrams in every 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams from December 5.
Mr MacAskill said there is “broad support” for the reduction aimed at cutting the number of drink-driving related road deaths in the country.
He said: “Latest estimates show approximately one in 10 deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers over the legal limit and research shows even just one alcoholic drink before driving can make you three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.
“Lowering the drink drive limit will help make Scotland’s roads safer and it will save lives, meaning fewer families will go through the heartache of losing loved ones.”
However, local driving experts believe the new limit does little to address the main cause of road-related accidents and deaths.
Angus McIver, of the Falkirk branch of the Institute of Advanced Drivers, said: “The Institute has approved this measure, but it only addresses one in 10 road deaths.
“The number of deaths on the road related to alcohol is quite small when compared to things like driver error and bad driving.
“The real problem is not people who are just over this new limit, but those who are several times over the limit and absolutely smashed.
“Of course part of being a good driver means not getting behind the wheel when you have had too much to drink.”
While the new limit may not deal with all the causes of road deaths, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents welcomes the move, although it has suggested reducing penalties for those caught under the new rules.
Sandy Allen, RoSPA road safety manager, said: “We strongly support the Scottish Government’s decision to lower the drink-driving limit, which we believe will save lives and prevent injuries on Scotland’s roads.
“There is a considerable body of research which shows reducing drink-drive limits is effective in reducing deaths and injuries.”
According to independent charity Drink Aware the only foolproof way to ensure you are under the limit is not to drink and drive at all.
A spokesman said: “The amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be considered over the driving limit varies from person to person.
“It depends on things like your weight, your gender– men tend to process alcohol faster than women– your metabolism, the type of alcohol you have been consuming, your age and whether you’ve eaten recently.”