MORNING-AFTER motorists have been warned they risk falling foul of new drink-driving limits, sparking calls for smaller alcohol measures.

Health professionals and trade bodies have claimed the new lower limits due to come in before Christmas, put motorists in jeopardy of a driving ban and criminal record.

It has led to renewed calls for wine to be served, both at home and in licensed premises, in 125ml glasses, which it is claimed give drinkers a clearer idea how much they have consumed.

Loading article content

A new UK-wide study claims one in seven pubs are failing to offer customers a smaller 125ml glass of wine, which as well as ensuring motorists may be still legally able to drive could encourage moderation of driving the following day.

But the Tories have criticised the move, saying it will criminalise a wide range of people "who are currently hardworking, law-abiding citizens".

The Scottish Government yesterday announced its plans to reduce the country's drink-drive limit on December 5.

Traffic police will be able to breath­alyse drivers at the reduced limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood from that date as part of the festive crackdown. Drink-­driving is responsible for around 20 deaths a year on Scotland's roads and more than 100 serious injuries.

The new limit will bring the country into line with most of Europe, including Germany, France and Spain, while the current 80mg limit remains in place south of the Border.

Dr Peter Rice, chairman of the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems and an expert in alcohol-related brain injuries, said while there was a risk reduced measures could give a false sense of confidence motorists were under the limit the benefits outweighed the concerns.

He added: "Even in terms of driving the following day, you would expect people to take into consideration more how much they are drinking. There's been an inflation in both the strength and measures of wine in recent years and smaller glasses would help calibrate consumption better.

"If people are going to gamble drink driving they will as much with a 175ml glass as they would with a 125ml glass."

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: "The next day is what people need to be careful about. We have been supportive of the introduction of 125ml measures and that's a step in all of this.

"No-one condones drink driving but this should be the last step. It's been a very successful public campaign with excellent enforcement but it can't go any lower."

Mr Waterson said there was still ambiguity over whether being just over would lead to a driving ban or a warning like in many other European countries.

The government said that was a matter for police and prosecutors as it did not set penalties.

The study on measure size, by insurers Direct Line, claimed there was a lack of awareness among women drivers about the amount of alcohol that can legally be consumed before taking to the road, with more than half (58 per cent) admitting they did not know how many glasses of wine they could legally drink before driving . It said the proportion of all drink driving convictions received by women almost doubled between 1998 and 2012, increasing from nine per cent to 17 per cent.

Director Rob Miles said: "We'd urge anyone who does plan to drive not to drink at all. The majority of pubs and restaurants now offer a 250ml glass of wine, which few people realise, is a third of a bottle and often contains three or more units of alcohol. This would push many drivers over the legal limit with potentially lethal consequences."