Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Drink and the driver

Don't put lives at risk. Don't drink before driving.

Scotland's drink drive limit was reduced from 80mg to 50mg in December 2014 and is now the same as many other European countries. The drink drive limit in Scotland is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

It is very difficult to convert this limit into an accurate estimate of how much you can drink because everyone is different. It depends on factors including the size and strength of the drink, a person's age, gender and weight.

Alcohol affects coordination, reaction times, and increases risk taking. Even very small amounts can affect your ability to drive safely.

You can't judge whether you are over or under the legal limit without a breathalyser or blood test. The safest thing to do is avoid alcohol altogether before driving.

Remember, you could still be over the limit the morning after a night's drinking. Only time will remove alcohol from your system, not black coffee, a meal or a few hours' sleep.


  • 1 in 9 deaths every year on Scotland's roads is the result of drink driving. In 2009, there were 30 fatalities and 920 casualties involving drivers over the legal limit.
  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs could mean up to 10 years in prison, an unlimited fine and automatic disqualification from driving.
  • Being caught driving over the legal limit or failing to provide a specimen when required carries penalties of automatic loss of licence, a fine up to £5000, a criminal record and the possibility of a prison sentence.

Find out more about the risks and consequences of drink driving - Don't risk it