The following advice has been taken from the Think! road safety website and we acknowledge any copyright. Further information and advice about driving can be found at Think! and The Highway Code websites. For further research and statistical information please visit the Department for Transport website.
There's no excuse for drink driving. Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to judge speed and distance and slows down reaction times.
The effects can include:
- Slower reactions
- Increased stopping distance
- Poor judgement of speed and distance
- Reduced field of vision
Alcohol also tends to make you feel over-confident and more likely to take risks when driving, which increases the danger to all road users, including yourself.
If you drive at twice the current legal alcohol* limit you are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash compared to a driver who has not been drinking.
There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely.
It depends on:
- Your weight, sex, age, metabolism
- Stress levels
- An empty stomach
- The amount and type of alcohol
The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive. Never offer a drink to someone else who is driving.
*The legal alcohol limit for driving in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.
Drinking and driving don’t mix
3,000 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads each year in drink drive related crashes and nearly one in six deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal limit.
- If you plan to drink, don’t risk driving:
- Book a taxi
- Use public transport
- Stay over night
- Arrange for someone who is not drinking to drive
- Don’t be tempted to get into a car with anyone else who has been drinking
You and the law
The number of people killed in drink-related accidents has dropped over the years, but drivers still need to be reminded of the risks - and the penalties they face if caught.
Around 100,000 drivers are convicted every year for drink driving. You don’t have to be in a crash to be breath tested. The police can ask you to take a breath test if they suspect you have been drinking, or if you commit a traffic offence.
If you're convicted of drink driving you'll:
- Lose your licence for 12 months (which could mean you lose your job);
- Face a maximum fine of £5,000;
- Face up to six months in prison; and
- Pay up to three times as much for car insurance.
The morning after
If you have been out drinking you may still be affected by alcohol he next day. Even though you may feel OK when you get up, you may be over the legal alcohol limit or unfit to drive, and could still lose your licence.
It is impossible to get rid of alcohol any faster. A shower, cup of coffee or other ways of ‘sobering up’ will not help. It just takes time.
Facts and Stats
The Department for Transport report entitled, “Fatal Vehicle-occupant Collisions; An In-depth Study” came to the conclusions below. The research analysed 1,185 fatal cases analysed from 10 UK Police Forces, for the years 1994 to 2005.
The research found that:
- Nearly 20% of all fatalities involved a driver over the drink-drive limit.
- Males were more likely to be driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs when involved in a collision than females. Where male drivers are to blame, 23% of collisions involved a driver impaired by drink and/or drugs compared with only 13% of females.
- Two-thirds of all the collisions examined were attributed directly to a loss of control. Of these, nearly a quarter involved drivers who were under the influence of drink and/or drugs.
- Report Summary:“Fatalities involving driving with excess alcohol were a major problem area. The number of fatal accidents involving drink/drug impaired drivers followed fairly predictable patterns, with the most accidents in the late evening and early morning, particularly at weekends. The average level of blood alcohol found in impaired drivers causing fatal accidents was over twice the current legal limit. This suggested that these drivers were not simply miscalculating their level of intoxication and ability to drive, having erroneously assumed they were under the limit. It appeared far more likely that they took a deliberate decision to drive while they knew themselves to be intoxicated.”
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