It’s the New Year and there’s a lot to do. There’s turkey weight to burn off, relatives to catch up with and resolutions to keep – for a few weeks at least! We get that with so much on it’s easy to lose track of everything that’s happening on the nation’s roads. That’s where we come in.
At Caledonian Couriers, we live with one ear to the tarmac. Not a single wheel turns nor piston pumps without our hearing about it. (Not in a creepy GCHQ way, though.) We’ve picked out the key stories from either side of Christmas so and condensed them into one short article. Once you’re done you’ll be more than able to hold your own at a Transport Scotland soiree.
Biggest news first: Scotland has a new drink-drive limit. On 5th December, Police Scotland began enforcing a new lower drink-drive limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The reduction brings Scotland into line with the drink-drive policies of most other European countries.
Last week, Police Scotland reported a 27 percent fall of drink-drive instances over the Christmas period when compared to last year. We don’t really know if it’s a direct effect of the new limit but we’re glad that less people are getting behind the wheel after a drink.
With the apparent success of the new limit, MSP Christian Allard is pushing for a second reduction. Allard’s limit would only apply to drivers of large goods vehicles or public transport. The lower limit would sit at 30mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Allard’s proposals are still to be studied by the Scottish Parliament.
How much does a pothole cost the council? Apparently, a couple hundred quid to fix it plus another few million in compensation.
Just before New Year, startling news emerged concerning the level of compensation councils are paying to drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes. Over the past five years an astounding £2.7 million has been paid out to motorists claiming for unavoidable damage to their vehicles caused by potholes.
This is a farcical situation.
Delaying the repairs has literally no benefit and countless penalties. Councils will still have to repair potholes but by waiting they are welcoming huge extra costs. The Scottish Conservatives (calm down, you raving socialists!) have been pushing for an additional pothole fund to help councils catch up with their backlog. This is a good idea. It’s saving money by making the roads better. It’s a win-win.
Refusing to fix the problem now is just making a bigger problem down the road.
Edinburgh City Centre Speed Limit
It’s an bizarre world where a young ‘un on a BMX can be pulled over for speeding. However, this is exactly the world that Edinburgh City Council is set to create with plans to roll out a 20mph speed limit across 80% of the capital’s streets.
(Note: the plans do not suggest the criminalisation of bicycled youths.)
Reaction to the proposals was initially mixed but suddenly soured when it emerged that the new limit would apply to almost every road. While support for a 20mph limit on residential roads remains high, critics claim that the proposals will unnecessarily slow down traders, public transport and commuting.
An online poll carried out by the Evening Times found 83 percent of people were against the proposals.
And one for the road…
“Stop in the name of the law!” exclaimed the constable. “You are hopping without a license!”
A particularly adventurous reveller was pulled over by police in Dundee in the wee small hours of the New Year. He wasn’t driving a car, though, he was found hopping a space hopper through the Marketgait underpass.
Witnesses say the man began his bouncey expedition at round 3 o’clock in the morning. Officials from Police Scotland Tayside Division confirmed that a space hopper was present in the area at the time when the incident took place and added that no formal action had taken place.