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One for the road?

BY Steve Ashton
Health & Safety
BG Orange

It’s that time of year again when the nights are drawing in and employees are starting to look forward to that staple of the professional social calendar- the Christmas party.

Anyone intending to drive home after their festive celebrations, or perhaps drive to work the following morning, may need to rethink their plans with a reported change in legal limits on Drink Driving in Scotland from 5th December. The rules in England remain unchanged. 

The Scottish Government has (finally) agreed revisions to road traffic laws which lower the ‘legal’ blood alcohol limit for driving in Scotland from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml (equivalent breath limit lowered from 35mic/100ml to 22mic/100ml).  At the new standard, one pint of strong-ish beer can put most people over the limit an hour later.  The mantra “just one drink is one too many” has never seemed so widely applicable! And anyone having “one over the eight” the night before may find themselves suffering more than just a headache the following morning if stopped and breathalysed by the police. 

The Scottish Government has been chasing this change, which brings the country’s standard into line with most of the rest of Europe, for some time.  The new limit effectively implements a zero tolerance approach. The bottom line, of course, is that alcohol impairs judgement and eyesight, and driving with any alcohol in your system is not a good idea.   

We are reliably informed that it is possible to have a good time without drinking… However, if any alcohol is going to be consumed by your party arrange it for a Friday night, arrange transport, leave the cars at home (or appoint nominated drivers) and don’t plan to drive over the weekend. And if you manage people who need to drive for work purposes it may be worth planning to do your annual check of their driving licenses sometime in January. It is perhaps unsurprising that some people can fail to tell their employers they have been disqualified from driving over the festive period because they know they may also then lose their jobs as a result. 

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