Driving or attempting to drive whilst above the legal limit or unfit through drink carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000 and a minimum driving ban of 12 months.
- On average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions.
- Nearly one in seven of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal limit.
- Drinking and driving occurs across a wide range of age groups but particularly among young men aged 17-29 in both casualties and positive breath tests following a collision.
Although there has been a significant success in reducing the number of people killed in drink and drug drive related collisions over the last 15 years, drink driving remains a serious, life threatening issue.
If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit, you are at least 50 times more likely to cause a road crash than a driver who hasn’t been drinking. Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. The only safe option is not to drink alcohol if you plan to drive, and never offer an alcoholic drink to someone else who is intending to drive.
How much can I drink and still be under the limit?
You can’t calculate your alcohol limit – so don’t try. There is no failsafe guide to how much you can drink and stay under the limit. The amount and type of alcoholic drink and your weight, sex, age and metabolism will all play a part.
The morning after drinking, can I drive safely?
Depending on how much you have drunk, you may still be affected well into the next day. For example:
- At midnight, you could have 200mg/100ml of alcohol in the blood and be well over the limit.
- At 3am, you may still have 90mg/100ml in the blood and still be over the limit and not safe to drive.
- By midday, you could be down to around 20mg/100ml and under the current legal limit – but, remember, alcohol is still in your system and could still affect your reaction times.
What’s your excuse?
- I feel fine to drive – any amount of alcohol will affect your judgement and reaction times.
- I’ve had a meal – no excuse! Your reactions will be slower and your driving will still be affected. Food does not change the amount of alcohol in your system.
- Only going down the road – a large proportion of all drink driving accidents occur within three miles of the start of the journey.
- Only had a couple – even a single drink will affect your driving performance.
- I can handle my drink – you may think so, but your ability to judge speed and distance will be affected. Your reactions will be slower, so it will take longer to stop. If you feel that you can handle your drink, and that drinking doesn’t affect your driving, you are at serious risk.
What will happen if you are caught and convicted of drink driving?
- You will have a criminal record.
- You won’t be allowed to drive for at least a year.
- You could lose your job.
- Your lifestyle could change dramatically.
- Your insurance costs will rocket.
- Worse still, you kill someone – and you could go to prison for 10 years.
What you can do
Next time you go out, think! You don’t need to mix drinking and driving. If you really want to drink, you should:
- Book a taxi;
- Use public transport;
- Stay overnight; or
- Arrange for someone who is not drinking to drive – take it in turns.
There is no such thing as drinking and driving. It’s drinking or driving, and there’s no excuse.