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NEW and professional drivers could fan a complete ban on alcohol if Scotland becomes independent.

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MSPs are planning to follow the example of other European countries and bring in tough new drink-drive limits for learners, taxi drivers and truckers after a Yes vote.

New drink-drive laws set to be introduced later this year will see the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood cut to 50mg, the equivalent of one pint of normal-strength beer or a small glass of wine.

But if there is a Yes vote, Scotland could follow the example of other European countries and reduce the limit even further for young and newly qualified motorists or taxi and HGV drivers.

Ireland introduced a limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood for learner drivers and cab drivers three years ago - meaning even one drink would put them over.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "Independence will allow all decisions on drink-driving policy to be taken in Scotland. This could include setting a lower blood/alcohol limit for young or newly qualified drivers or for those driving in a professional capacity - for example, taxi and HGV drivers."

Figures show around one in eight deaths on Scottish roads involves drivers over the limit. And just one alcoholic drink before getting behind the wheel makes drivers three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

The Scottish Government's new plans received a mixed response from road safety campaigners.

Brake's James McLoughlin said: "We strongly believe there needs to be a zero-tolerance approach."

But the RAC's Simon Williams said: "We question whether a more stringent limit for professional drivers is needed because the law should either deem it safe to drive with up to 50mg of alcohol in the blood or not."

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