BMA Scotland, on Tuesday 4 December, called on Scotland's politicians to increase pressure on the UK Government to reduce drink driving limits from 80mg/100ml to 50mg, a move that could prevent as many as 65 deaths on the UK's roads every year.
The calls came as the BMA launched its annual Christmas card campaign, delivering its message on the dangers of drink driving to MSPs, (Scottish) MPs and Scottish Government ministers.
Launching the campaign, Dr Sally Winning, a member of the BMA's Scottish Council, said:
"Drink driving continues to be a hazard on Scotland's roads. In 2005, 30 people were killed and there were 660 drink driving related accidents involving 990 casualties (1).
"Our message is clear. Lives could be saved simply by reducing the drink driving limit. There is evidence that driving is impaired with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level over 50mg/100ml and it is estimated that around 65 lives could be saved in the UK by lowering the drink drive limit.
"Legislating to reduce the drink drive limit is a matter reserved to Westminster and they have been stalling on this issue for nearly 10 years. That is why the BMA is calling on MSPs and the Scottish Government to exert more pressure on the UK Government to take action now and reduce the limit from 80 to 50mg. This will bring us into line with nearly every other country in Europe."
The BMA will launch the campaign at the Scottish Parliament today, delivering a special Christmas card to Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
"The current drink driving limit in Scotland has been in place for forty years. Scotland is now a very different place from when that limit was first set and our relationship with alcohol has changed. But while drink driving limits across western Europe have been reduced in line with public concerns, here we remain stuck with a more liberal limit set at the height of the swinging sixties.
"As regular police enforcement initiatives show, drink driving remains a constant thorn in efforts here in Scotland to make our roads and communities safer. It is the cause of too many collisions, injuries and deaths on our roads - especially over the festive period. So the BMA and other campaigning organisations, including Scotland's police, are to be praised for keeping this important issue on the agenda.
"The new Scottish Government takes this issue very seriously. The Scottish Cabinet will also discuss in the near future how best to secure a change in the law. Lowering the limit is currently reserved to the Westminster government."
Dr Winning added:
"Although it is the season to be merry, it is also a time to be sensible. Enjoy the Festive Season but don't drink and drive."