I recently returned from Scotland where I learned that the government has reduced the legal drinking and driving limit to what is essentially .01, much lower than the .08 limit in most U.S. states, including Idaho, and lower than England’s current limit. The change reduces the legal limit from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml of blood. With the change, the Scottish government expects to see a reduction in alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries.
The change makes Scotland consistent with most European countries. The Irish government is considering reducing their drinking level as well. England and Malta continue to have the highest acceptable blood alcohol levels.
The amount a motorist can drink without exceeding the limit depends on his/her gender, height, weight, age, metabolism and whether they have eaten as they drank. A man of average height may be able to consume a glass of beer or wine. A smaller person may be able to consume only a small glass of wine or beer or a portion of a glass. It will also take longer for a person to be able to drive the morning after having had several drinks. With a pub on nearly every corner, those who choose to imbibe may choose to walk rather than getting behind the wheel and risking arrest.
Will the reduced limit catch on in the U.S.? Possibly, if it can be proven that reducing the limit does indeed reduce the number and severity of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.