Are the UK drink drive levels too high ?

Posted by UK Drug Testing on

UK drink drive limits

The recent prominent case of Wayne Rooney and his drink-driving conviction in which he was 3 times over the legal limit, has raised discussion in the media about the UK Drink-drive limits which still remain the highest in Europe. There have been repeated calls to lower the levels as Scotland has done.

English drink drive limits

The current drink driving limit for England, Wales and Northern Ireland for drivers on a normal driving license is:

On a blood alcohol test

  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres
  • 80mg/ml
  • 0.08 BAC
  • 0.8 Promille on a blood test

On a breath alcohol test:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath BrAC 

Scottish drink drive limits

The Scottish drink drive limit is significantly lower at:

On a blood test:

  • 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres,
  • 50mg/ml,
  • 0.05 BAC
  • 0.5 Promille on a blood test 

On a breath test:

  • 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath BrAC 

The level was lowered in Scotland on the 5th December 2014.

This means currently you could fail a breathalyser and blood test in Scotland and still pass the breath or blood test for the rest of the UK.

The penalties for being convicted of drink driving in Scotland are very similar to in England so it seems silly to not bring down the drink drive limits for the rest of the UK.

Unfortunately the lower limit may not deter drivers who are found to be three times over the current limit, but it may make people more likely, not to drink and drive at all and to stop drinking earlier in the evening if they need to drive the following morning.

What are the drink drive limits in UK for professional drivers?

The limit for professional drivers in Scotland is the same as the rest of UK at 0.02%BAC.

Current UK drink driving levels


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