Police chiefs have backed a month-long campaign targeting those who drink and drive over the festive season.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said that, while they support Scottish Government proposals to reduce the alcohol limit, people who plan to get behind the wheel should not drink any alcohol at all.

The campaign will see police officers in marked and unmarked vehicles on the look-out for offenders. Information and intelligence will be gathered on possible trouble-spots and potential drink or drug drivers.

The public are also being urged to help by reporting suspected offenders to the police.

A television and radio advertising campaign is being aired to emphasise the consequences of drink driving.

Deputy Chief Constable Tom Ewing, from Fife Police, said: "Throughout my career I have found it astonishing that people are prepared to risk not only the serious consequences of losing their licence but also the threat to life and limb by taking to the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Last year we saw 7,445 people charged with being over the limit, which is a simply unacceptable figure.

"We will use every means at our disposal to track down those who drive after taking alcohol or drugs and, with our law enforcement partners, will ensure that they face the consequences. That is likely to mean a fine, loss of driving licence for at least a year and for repeat offenders and those who give a high reading the chance of losing their vehicle.

"Many serious crashes happen as a result of drivers drinking or taking drugs and as many as one in nine road deaths is related to a drink or drug driver. That is simply not acceptable and we must work together to end the scourge of drink and drug driving.

"Acpos fully supports the idea of reducing the limit for drink driving, which has been the subject of recent consultation, but would stress that our clear advice remains that no alcohol or drugs should be taken before driving a vehicle."

Alongside a reduction in the limit, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill wants more powers to allow Scottish police to pull drivers over at any time, to set a different alcohol limit for young drivers and introduce new penalties.

"This Government has made it clear that we want a lower drink-driving limit as we believe it will help make Scotland's roads safer," he said.

"Our consultation, that sought views on reducing the drink-driving limit to a level which would bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and which will help save lives on our roads, closed last week. Consultation responses will be independently analysed and we will publish our consultation report early next year.

"We will continue to work with the police and road safety partners to consider new measures to tackle the scourge of drink driving on Scotland's roads."