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Charity urges drivers not to drink under new laws

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Alcohol Focus urges drivers to abstain totally from drink to be safe under new laws

Drivers are being urged to avoid alcohol completely by a leading charity as new drink driving laws come into force in Scotland today.

Alcohol Focus Scotland has joined the British Medical Association (BMA) and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) to call on drivers to abstain from drink in order to protect themselves and other road users.

Scotland’s drink drive limit is now 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - a reduction from 80mg.

Campaigners believe the new limit will cut the number of deaths and serious injuries on Scottish roads.

The organisations are also warning drivers to think carefully about getting in the car the morning after a night’s drinking as they may still be over the limit.

The best approach is not to drink any alcohol at all if you intend to get behind the wheel - Evelyn Gillan

For most people, it takes approximately one hour to process one unit of alcohol so it could take up to 12 hours to be safe to drive after drinking a bottle of wine. If in any doubt, use public transport instead.

Experts have said the new 50mg limit, which came into force at midnight, means that an average man would be limited to just under a pint of beer or a large glass of wine, and women to half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.

Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said: “Everyone is different in the way they process alcohol so it is very difficult to accurately estimate the effect of alcohol on your system.

“Even a very small amount of alcohol affects your coordination, reaction times, judgement and ability to drive safely.

“The best approach is not to drink any alcohol at all if you intend to get behind the wheel.”

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland, added: "The science is clear: a 50mg limit will lower the number of road crashes, deaths and serious injuries on our roads."