Zero Tolerance Bill may have been the better option

The decision to lower the drink drive limit may have its roots in social concern, but it certainly cannot claim to have any feeling of commercial sensitivity towards the rural areas of Scotland who will be most affected by the justice minister’s bill.

Not for the first time Kenny MacAskill has gone where angels fear to tread, the most glaring being his decision to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi early on compassionate grounds in 2009.

There were nothing compassionate about the government minister’s actions last week, as with one stroke of his pen, he almost certainly condemned umpteen pubs and hotels throughout the land to closure.

The new law effectively means that taking even one alcoholic drink is likely to result in failing the breathalyser, thus ending the habit of many workers who stop off for one beer, or a glass of wine at their local pub or club on their way home.

Similarly affected will be weekend golfers who will now not be able to enjoy one refreshment for fear of losing their driving licence.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not against any law that keeps death off the roads, if indeed this were the result of introducing the bill before the end of the year. I just don’t accept that the current legislation is not a sufficient enough deterrent for motorists.

I speak as someone who did in fact take a strong stance against drink driving, and in the early part of the century help the local police force by agreeing to take a roadside test after a couple of drinks, though naturally I did not use the car, instead surrendering myself to the local police station and its tender mercies.

For what it is worth I passed the test after two pints of strong ale, which was the equivalent of four units of alcohol.

I leave you readers to draw your own conclusions, but for me it was a clear indication of my tolerance to the dreaded drug with which we Scots enjoying such a stormy relationship with, and will no doubt continue to enjoy despite any well-meaning legislation.

I would point out, however, that I followed up my two pint experiment the following week by going for three pints and duly failed.

I actually believe that instead of tinkering with the existing levels, it might have been better had Mr MacAskill decided to go the whole hog, and bring in a zero tolerance bill, leaving all us motorists in no doubt as to what a safe level is.

As it stands I can see an escalation of drink driving offences, taking our hard-pressed police service away from its main line duties.

The bill could of course be voted out by the Scottish Parliament, but somehow I don’t think this is a likely outcome.