New drink drive law makes a difference

File photo dated 26/11/14 of a pint of beer and a set of car keys on a bar in a pub, as Wales, Scotland and the north of England contain the worst hotspots for drink and drug driving in Britain, a new study has revealed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 24, 2014. Wales has four towns in the top 20, including top offender Llandrindod Wells with nearly two offences per 1,000 drivers, car insurance comparison site Moneysupermarket has found. See PA story TRANSPORT Driving. Photo credit should read: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
File photo dated 26/11/14 of a pint of beer and a set of car keys on a bar in a pub, as Wales, Scotland and the north of England contain the worst hotspots for drink and drug driving in Britain, a new study has revealed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 24, 2014. Wales has four towns in the top 20, including top offender Llandrindod Wells with nearly two offences per 1,000 drivers, car insurance comparison site Moneysupermarket has found. See PA story TRANSPORT Driving. Photo credit should read: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The impact of Scotland’s new drink drive law is being felt on both sides of the border, with pubs in England and Scotland reacting differently.

The restructured law reduced the legal alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland from 80mg to 50mg.

And concerns have been raised that the move has been so successful in discouraging people from drinking and driving that the services industry has suffered.

A recent Bank of Scotland report described May as a “poor month” for the private sector in Scotland.

The bank’s chief economist, Donald Mcrae, suggested the new law, which came into force in December, was at least partly responsible.

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the new law it amounted to “a form of prohibition” which attacked moderate drinking and frightened people into staying away from alcohol altogether.

Mark Collin has been the clubhouse manager at Eyemouth Golf Club for the last 17 months, and says that things are slightly different now that the legal limits have been lowered.

“We have seen a slight change in the way people behave, particularly towards the back end of last year,” he said.

“I’m not saying that there is a massive difference, but it’s a bit more noticeable, the number of people who just don’t touch a drop now.”

When it is suggested that the clampdown might mean intensify diversification in the hospitality industry, Mark says that those processes continue.

“We have reacted and made a slight change to how we work. For us, that meant bringing the catering back inhouse.

“That had been contracted out, but we went back to doing it, and we’ll be reopening that aspect of the place in May.”

Mark added that in terms of cross-border trade, the change in legal limits has led to a change in attitudes rather than in profits.

“Obviously, we have a lot of people coming over from the north of England,” he went on, “and although we’re only a very short distance from the border, people seem to be very aware of the changes.

“They know that they can be caught on that stretch of road, and are very wary about it.”

The new legal levels are strict enough that people have been warned against driving first thing in the morning after a night out, a significant factor in rural areas.

Across the border in Northumberland, David Hearn, licensee of the Meadow House, the last place to buy a pint before crossing into Scotland, feels that the pub business has been affected negatively.

He said that people coming from Scotland to England seemed very aware of the new restrictions, but “a few drivers going the other way seem likely to be caught out.”

He added: “The new laws have definitely affected business, and I think that they need to be publicised a wee bit better.

“People need to know these things.”