The drink-drive limit in Scotland is to be lowered to around one small glass of wine under new proposals.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said plans to lower the limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg will be brought forward later this year, "with a view to the change taking effect as soon as possible".
Campaigners hailed the plan as a step in the right direction, but said that a zero-tolerance approach remains their ultimate aim.
The proposed changes of 50mg are the equivalent of around one pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
Sarah Fatica, general manager at Brake, the road safety charity, said: "We're pleased that the Scottish Government is taking heed of the warning that road safety charities and the EU are sending out about the current drink-drive limit.
"It's certainly a step in the right direction and one that we commend, and we would like to see the British Government also lowering the drink-drive limit.
"However, a 50mg limit does still leave some level of confusion for the general public about what is safe."
Ms Fatica said she would ultimately welcome a limit of 20mg or less, saying the "best message" to send out was one of zero tolerance for driving after drinking.
Carole Whittingham, spokeswoman for the Campaign against Drinking and Driving, said she was behind the Scottish Government 100%, but also called for a lower limit to be brought in in the future.
"I'm so glad to hear that somebody is actually grasping the nettle at last," she said.
"Scotland has highlighted that they've got a problem. I just wish that the Westminster Government would do the same.
"In a perfect world we'd have zero tolerance but let's take it one step at a time."
The power to change the limit is being handed to Holyrood under new devolved powers in the 2012 Scotland Act, which recently received royal assent.
Lowering the limit to 50mg would bring Scotland in line with other European countries such as Germany, France and Spain.
Mr MacAskill said: "The Scottish Government has long called for a reduction in the drink-driving limit to 50mg. We strongly believe that reducing the drink-driving limit will save lives, and evidence from across Europe shows that alcohol-related road deaths drop dramatically where the limit has been reduced."
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has urged ministers to make use of the new powers as soon as possible.
He said: "The new powers devolved under the Scotland Bill present us with some fantastic opportunities to shape the Scotland we want to live in.
"One in seven deaths on Scottish roads involve alcohol. The new powers give us the opportunity to further prevent them."
Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, said: "This a welcome development and something I called for several weeks ago, so I am delighted that the Scottish Government are in listening mode."
People who read this story also read
- Two men and eight-year-old boy injured in 'large-scale' disturbance in park
- More than £4000 worth of cigarettes stolen in convenience shop raid
- Critics slam ban on flying saltire above Hampden during Olympic Games
- Householders warned over natural gas that can cause lung cancer
- Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll's home seized under Proceeds of Crime Act