As we enter the Christmas party season, an important message is being brought to our attention; the THINK! anti-drink drive campaign. We hear it every year, but sadly, there are still people out there who just aren’t listening.
It’s not all people who are ignoring the law though, in fact, where it used to be seen as no more than an annoyance and unlucky if you got caught, 90% of people now think drink driving is unacceptable and shameful (according to a THINK! survey). However, what we can/can’t and should/shouldn’t do can be confusing. That being said, the easiest and safest thing you can do is to not drink at all if you need to drive home.
To help you have a better understanding of the facts and laws surrounding drink driving, we’ve put together the list below:
Drink Driving – The History:
- Drink driving has been illegal since 1925…but we didn’t have a way to measure alcohol levels back then.
- The first anti-drink driving advert was released in 1964, and since then drink driving related deaths have fallen from 1,640 a year to 230.
- Whilst this is a huge decline, considering the number of licensed cars has tripled, it is still too many.
- Before the 1967 Road Safety Act, drink driving was associated with almost a quarter of all road fatalities.
- Breathalysers were introduced in 1968
Drink Driving – The Law:
In the UK the following alcohol limits apply:
- 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
- 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
However, the amount that you can drink to stay under this limit will vary from person to person depending on:
- weight, age, sex and metabolism
- the type and amount of alcohol
- what you’ve eaten
- your stress levels
This is why it is best to avoid drinking altogether if you’re driving; what may be a legal amount of alcohol for one person may not be legal for you and, more importantly, whilst one drink might not affect your friend’s ability to drive safely, it might affect yours.
Drink Driving – The Consequences:
If you are convicted of drink driving in the UK, a magistrate will decide on your penalty. This penalty may include:
- A minimum 12 month driving ban
- A criminal record
- A fine of up to £5,000
- An endorsement on your license for 11 years.
And that is just what the law will do. A drink driving conviction can affect your life in many other ways, such as:
- Job loss
- Increase in car insurance
- Trouble getting into countries such as the USA
- Loss of independence
Drink Driving – THINK! Advice:
Beware of the morning after drinking alcohol
The morning after consuming alcohol, you may still be over the limit. Contrary to popular belief, sleep, coffee and cold showers don’t reduce this. The only thing that does is time. As a general rule of thumb, it takes 1 hour for 1 unit of alcohol to pass through the body. But (and that’s a big ‘but’) this can vary from person to person, so the safest thing to do is not drink, or at least not drink heavily, if you are going to be driving the following morning.
Did you know that in 2011 more people failed breath tests between 6am and 11am than they did before or after midnight? (ACPO)
Make a plan to avoid drink driving
As soon as you know that you’re going to have a drink, make sure that you have a plan for getting home without driving. It will make life easier for you and reduce temptation later on.
There is no excuse for drink driving
You may think that you can handle your drink better than others, or that it’s OK because you’re ‘just going down the road’, but this simply isn’t the case. No matter who you are, or how much you drink, alcohol does affect your body for the worse. And distance makes no odds either, in fact, a large proportion of drink driving accidents occur within 3 miles of the start of the journey.
So be safe this Christmas, if you do want to have a drink, that’s OK…just make sure that you’re not driving home afterwards.
You can check out this year’s THINK! anti-drink driving advert here.