Drivers will be shown zero tolerance for having “just one” drink before getting behind the wheel during the festive drink drive campaign launched today.
The latest move towards making it socially unacceptable for drivers to touch alcohol came as police warned of a rising tide of drink driving in the run up to Christmas.
One in 30 drivers stopped during last year’s campaign were over the limit compared to one in 35 over the same period in the previous year.
The number of breath tests increased from 16,225 to 18,895 last year and police said there would be even more patrols this year.
Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government’s message has always been ‘don’t drink and drive’.
“We lowered the drink-driving limit in 2014 as evidence showed this could save lives.
“The reality is that having even one alcoholic drink before driving makes you three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash. “It’s definitely not worth that risk”
He added: “Unfortunately there is a persistent minority of drivers who continue to ignore the law.
“These people are not only risking their own lives and licences, but are risking the safety of other road users and pedestrians.
“This campaign reinforces that drink driving is unacceptable and, if you get caught, you will get a minimum 12 month driving ban, a criminal record for a lengthy period and a substantial fine.
“Furthermore, a drink driving conviction can have significant social and employment consequences.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “Between December last year and January, 625 drivers failed a breath test. It’s disappointing that some drivers are continuing to take unnecessary risks, affecting their own safety and that of other road users.
“Police Scotland has a zero tolerance policy on drink driving, and over the festive period we will be increasing our activity to ensure those risk takers are removed from the road.
“We’re urging people to plan ahead to help keep our roads safe during the party season.
“Think about how you’re going to get home before you go out, and don’t forget about any journeys you’ll make the morning after.”
The drink drive limit in Scotland was reduced in 2014 from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
That brought the country into line with much of Europe, but the limit in England remains unchanged.