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Scottish drink-drive plans welcomed

Plans to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland "as a priority" have been given a cautious welcome by road safety campaigners.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said proposals to lower the limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg will be brought forward later this year, "with a view to the change taking effect as soon as possible".

Campaigners hailed the plan as a step in the right direction, but said that a zero-tolerance approach remains their ultimate aim.

Sarah Fatica, general manager at Brake, the road safety charity, said: "We're pleased that the Scottish Government is taking heed of the warning that road safety charities and the EU are sending out about the current drink-drive limit.

"It's certainly a step in the right direction and one that we commend, and we would like to see the British Government also lowering the drink-drive limit. However, a 50mg limit does still leave some level of confusion for the general public about what is safe."

Ms Fatica said she would ultimately welcome a limit of 20mg or less, saying the "best message" to send out was one of zero tolerance for driving after drinking.

"Whilst 50mg is a step in the right direction, what we really need to see is a strong message from our Governments in Scotland and Westminster to say that not a drop is acceptable if you are behind the wheel.

"Far too many lives are lost on UK roads annually because of drink drivers. If we could have a zero-tolerance approach to drink driving, lives would obviously be saved."

Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, said: "This a welcome development and something I called for several weeks ago, so I am delighted that the Scottish Government are in listening mode.

"We need to get the details right, but the SNP will have our support on the issue as the Scottish Parliament works through the fine print."

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