With Christmas festivities only weeks away and Scotland's pubs predicted for their "busiest festive season ever," it's worth knowing the law when it comes to how much you can legally drink before driving safely.

The law is different from that found elsewhere in the UK and the limit is much lower compared to other countries.

The maximum intake was brought into law by the Scottish Government in 2014 and was part of a raft of new alcohol measures aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and incidents.

Other such laws include Minimum Unit Pricing legislation which raised the price of alcohol as well as bills limiting when someone can buy alcohol.

How much alcohol can I drink and drive in Scotland?

The law in Scotland states that drivers cannot exceed:

  • 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
  • 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
  • 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

Can you drink a pint and drive in Scotland?

With Scotland's limit being far stricter than in other parts of the UK, there is no reliable way to drink any alcohol and stay under the limit, meaning it is likely not possible to drink a pint and safely drive.

The Scottish Government stated that the reason why there is not a total ban on alcohol is that certain products like medicines and mouthwash can often contain a small amount of alcohol.

What is the penalty for drink driving in Scotland?

Similar to drink-driving laws in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, being caught exceeding the alcohol limit while operating a vehicle is punishable in a number of ways.

  • Penalties for being at the wheel of a vehicle can be as harsh as up to three months in prison, a fine of up to £2,500, and a possible driving ban.
  • Driving while under the influence can result in a 6-month jail term, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban of at least one year.
  • Punishments may also stay on the offender's licence for 11 years
  • Causing death while intoxicated is further punishable by 14 years in prison.

What time can you buy alcohol in Scotland?

Alcohol in Scotland can only be bought between the times of 10 am and 10 pm as per legislation making it illegal to buy alcohol outwith this time scale.

When was drunk driving made illegal?

Cumnock Chronicle: Canva - Alcohol laws in ScotlandCanva - Alcohol laws in Scotland (Image: Canva)

While many laws existed prohibiting the drunk operation of vehicles like horse-drawn carriages, a drunk driving limit was introduced in the UK in 1966.

It was hoped that the Road Safety Bill would deter drivers from drinking and driving, making roads safer.

The law introduced an alcohol-blood limit of 80mg in 100cc of blood.

In 1967, the breathalyser was introduced, making the enforcement of the law much easier.