Cross-border drivers urged not to drink


England’s most northerly police force is issuing a drink driving warning after recent changes to the law in Scotland.

Earlier this month the Scottish drink drive threshold dropped from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

In England it remains 80mg in 100ml of blood. This means that although drivers in England may be legally allowed to be behind the wheel of a car, they face arrest if they cross the border and were breath tested by Police Scotland.

Northumbria Police are urging motorists who are considering crossing the border to not drink at all and avoid facing any action.

Chief Inspector John Heckels said: “Although the limit may have changed north of the border our message remains the same, don’t drink at all if you are going to be driving.

“It’s not worth taking the risk. Drinking any amount of alcohol can affect your judgement and decision making, and if those decisions are made behind the wheel of a car they can have fatal consequences.

“Our advice to people in the borders is that if they travel between the two countries then don’t drink at all. The excuse that you were legal on the Northumbria side of the line won’t be accepted by our colleagues in Police Scotland and anyone found over the limit in Scotland will be prosecuted.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “Our message is don’t risk it, don’t drink and drive. Far too many people die or are injured each year on Scotland’s roads as a result of drink driving and the irresponsible disregard shown by drink drivers for not only their own safety but that of other road users and pedestrians. Evidence from across Europe, where the lower limit already applies, suggests we will see reductions in drink driving and a corresponding increase in lives saved.

“Remember if you do drink and drive, it can have long-term repercussions for you, your family and your community. It could cost you your job, your reputation or potentially your life not to mention the effect your actions have on innocent parties.

“There is no safe amount of alcohol in the body if you drive. Even at the new limit, you are three times more likely to die in a crash than if you had taken no alcohol. It is clear when it comes to drinking and driving, that the simple ‘the best advice is none’ message is the right one. If you are going out for a drink then leave the car at home.”

Northumbria Police has been running a month-long winter road safety operation and a crackdown on drink driving. All drivers involved in collisions will be breath tested, as well as those who have committed a moving road traffic offence such as speeding and people suspected of drink driving or attempting to drive after consuming alcohol.

If you suspect someone of drink driving call 101 ext 69191 or 999 in an emergency.