Thursday, 6 September 2012

Scotland the grey

Well, as expected, the Scottish government have launched their consultation on reducing the drink-drive limit north of the Border. Much has been written on this before, but surely if there is a problem with drivers exceeding the current limit, then that needs to be enforced and publicised more effectively. And is there really any firm evidence of disproportionate accident involvement amongst drivers in the 50-80 mg range? What it looks very much like is identifying a problem with drivers doing 70 in a 40 limit, and reducing the limit to 30, thus inconveniencing anyone who wants to stick to the law, but then doing nothing more to actually enforce it.

As I have said before, far from being a road safety measure, the main factors behind this are to advance the Scottish government’s general anti-drink agenda and to drive a further wedge between Scotland and England. Even if they never touch a drop immediately before driving, it will force law-abiding people with driving licences to think much more carefully about when they can ever reasonably have more than a single alcoholic drink.

I also commented on the blatant injustice of banning English drivers from driving in England for doing something in Scotland that remains legal south of the Border - something that the Home Office have confirmed will be the case. And will it be reasonable to impose huge insurance penalties on English drivers for doing something where, if the police found them doing it in England, they would just wave them on their way and there would be no obligation to even mention it to the insurance company?

18 comments:



  1. Scotland and England have always and will always have separate legal systems. Squatting until very recently had been a mere civil matter in England but had been a criminal matter for at least 150 years in Scotland.

    I simply cannot see the injustice in being punished for breaking the law under a legal system different from the one you normally live under.

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  2. It's not the fact of being punished - obviously everyone has an obligation to obey the law of whatever country they visit. But the potential injustice arises from being punished IN ENGLAND for doing something that is legal in England.

    OK, maybe a bit of an extreme example, but it is like being put in the Sex Offenders' Register in the UK for committing adultery in Saudi Arabia.

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  3. See the real truth of the Scottish Highlands at:

    http://www.muirmatters.co.uk/

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  4. It makes sense to have the same limit across Europe. Welcome to the 21st century, travel and freedom of movement. If the jocks had any sense they would abolish pints and go metric too.

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  5. Steven: I asked the Department for Transport whether a driving ban in Scotland because of (say) 65mg (illegal in Scotland, but not in the rest of the UK) would apply on English roads, even though you had not broken any drink-drive laws that apply in England. They said 'yes'. I've written this up more fully on my own blog.

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  6. That BBC article you've linked to says that UK limits are the highest in the world. What about all the countries that have no drink-driving limits at all, such as Indonesia?

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  7. @Cookie - if we are to equalise limits, then maybe we should equalise penalties too. It may have been tightened up now, but in the past in many Continental countries with a 50 mg limit, you wouldn't get a ban until well over 80 mg.

    We could also standardise the beer to "Eurofizz" at the same time.

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  8. All good ideas Mudge for the modern progressive European nation our Scottish cousins are building whilst leaving the rest of the backward island behind.

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  9. Concerning the BBC claim we have highest drink-drive limit in the world - I've just found that Pakistan has no set limit, and the following nations have no limits at all:
    Indonesia, Vietnam, Angola, Comortos, Congo, Ethiopa. No limit at all is higher than our 80mg limit.

    I have of course e-mailed to the BBC pointing out their factual inaccuracy, a 'fact' they doubtless obtained from the anti-alcohol lobby and quoted without checking.

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  10. It should also be "equal highest" as other countries, most notably the US, have the same limit as the UK. Until fairly recently, many US states in fact had a 100 mg limit.

    The BBC article is full of the usual anti-drink tenor - they quote from people who think it should be even lower, but not from those who don't think it should be cut.

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  11. Scottish legal system ????????
    Not worthy of further comment.

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  13. A better approach would be to suggest an efficient, reliable, cheap, integrated public transport system like other Euro cities have than defend drink driving. Something they manage to do with many different private companies owning and running things.

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  14. Crazy but given the anti-alcohol hysteria that now seems the norm, not surprising. There is simply no argument for reducing the limit and plenty for keeping it. That, however, seems to count for nothing where politicians are concerned.

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  15. The responsible people who try to stay under the limit will grit their teeth and have a bit less. The idiots who don't care will carry on as before. All this will do is make life a little less pleasant for the responsible majority, which is, of course, what the puritans want to achieve. Check out the quote from H L Mencken on the home page.

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  16. People get the government they deserve. I feel sorry for all the Scottish people I know, (nearly all of whom live in England anyway), but Alex Salmond (I think that's the right spelling), is on a power trip at the moment, and won't rest until he has achieved his aim of complete independence for Scotland, regardless of the cost to the people.

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  17. The opinion polls suggest that independence will be defeated, but Salmond has made a political career out of blaming all Scotland's ills on the English, and that wouldn't change.

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  18. "defend drink driving"

    How does that differ from accusing someone opposed to reducing a speed limit as "defending speeding"?

    All I am doing is defending the current legal position, which has applied for 45 years - I have never condoned breaking the existing law.

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