Pubs unfazed by lower drink-drive limit
TRADE in pubs has withstood the lowering of the drink-drive limit in Scotland, new research has suggested.
Stirling University academics interviewed pubs, nightclubs and restaurant managers, finding businesses and customers have adapted to the changes, with less after-work drinking and more leaving the pub earlier on weekdays.
In 2014, the Scottish Government introduced legislation to reduce the legal alcohol limit for driving from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.
Most of the 16 managers interviewed reported no long-term financial impact on their business, although rural pubs were more likely to report a negative economic impact.
The tighter restrictions have also led to changes in pubs, with bars offsetting losses by introducing a greater range of food and selling drinks with no or little alcohol. Owners have also changed the presentation of drinks, with one admitting to making a sparkling water “look like a gin and tonic”.
Stirling University associate professor Niamh Fitzgerald, who led the study, said: “The findings are of international relevance as lower drink-drive limits are being considered in other countries, with debates including discussions around the impact on business.
“We found a broad acceptance of the change in legislation, with most reporting no persistent financial impact on their businesses – despite some changes in customer behaviour.”
One pub manager who was interviewed said: “We’re quite happy to change by whatever means we have to do.
“If the drink-driving limit has gone down then we need to offer different things to attract folk in.”