The Minister for Transport and Police Scotland have launched this year’s festive enforcement campaign to tackle drink and drug-driving across Scotland, highlighting the personal and criminal consequences of being found guilty of driving under the influence.
More than 20,000 drivers are stopped by the police in Scotland every month and Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign will see an even stronger focus on drink driving on Scotland’s roads, so the chances of being caught are higher than ever.
The consequences of drink and drug-driving can be devastating and put not only the driver but any other passengers, and road users at risk of serious injury or worse. With more people out and about and enjoying Christmas parties this year, in comparison to the Covid-19 restrictions that consumed the festive season in 2020, Police Scotland’s message is clear: if you’re planning to have a drink, even just the one, leave the car at home.
Police Scotland confirmed that 395 motorists having tested positive for drug-driving, and 600 arrested for drink-driving and related offences throughout Scotland in the last two months alone. Unfortunately, it is the reality that some people do still take the risk.
Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that behind each statistic, there is potentially a family dealing with a devastating aftermath. We have significant experience handling road traffic accidents, and we are here to help every step of the way. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out all you need to know on drink and drug-driving.
What are the current drink and drug-driving limits in Scotland?
The current drink drive limit is:
- 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
- 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- 67 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine
The drink and drug-drive limit in Scotland is stricter than in England, so just one small drink could put you over. The reason it’s measured as a percentage of alcohol in your breath, blood or urine rather than per units of alcohol, is because everybody processes alcohol in different ways, and the same drink can create different levels of alcohol for different people. This can be influenced by factors such as your weight, age, metabolism, medication or your stress levels.
Although it’s clear that you cannot safely drink any alcohol when driving, the reason the limit isn’t zero is because there’s more than one reason why drivers could have alcohol in their body other than from drinking. For example, certain foods, mouthwash and medications can contain alcohol.
Regarding the drug-driving limit, Scotland has a zero-tolerance approach to tackling illegal drugs and driving. No matter what kind of drugs someone may have taken, or how much, it is a crime to take illegal drugs and drive.
The police can stop you if they suspect you of drink or drug-driving, and if you are found to be over the drink drive limit or to have used illegal drugs, this is treated very seriously. The consequences are severe, ranging from receiving a criminal record, a minimum 12 month driving ban, the possibility of losing your job and receiving a substantial fine. Repeat offenders, or those that cause death due to careless driving, may even face the prospect of a prison sentence and a much longer driving ban.
Can an injured passenger claim against a drunk driver?
As always, the most important element of any claim for compensation is proving that someone else’s negligence caused you to be injured, through no fault of your own. In terms of typical passenger compensation claims, if you can prove that the driver caused the accident, the grounds for your claim would rest on the fact that you were owed a duty of care that you did not receive.
If a driver fails to show due care for their passengers’ safety, and their reckless or negligent driving results in serious injury, the passenger then has the right to claim for any damages which were a direct result of their injuries or loss.
For drink and drug-driving cases, this can be a little more complicated. You could still claim against a drunk driver if you were injured as a passenger in their vehicle that was involved in a car accident. Even if you yourself were drunk. Regardless of whether a passenger is drunk or not, a driver who causes an accident will invariably carry the lion’s share of responsibility for the accident.
However, when a passenger decides to be driven by a driver they knew, or ought to have known was drunk, that passenger may be liable for contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that any compensation you are awarded would be reduced, owing to the fact that your choice to enter a vehicle with a drunk driver contributed to the injuries you sustained.
What do I do if I’m involved in a road traffic accident caused by drink or drug-driving?
We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident, especially if you are injured by someone drink or drug-driving. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:
- Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
- Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
- Accident date and time
- Accident location
- Full contact details of any witnesses
Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.