No matter if you are going on a long or short journey, being prepared and staying safe is important.

The focus for the month of July is drink driving.

 

Drink driving and the law

Are you planning a night out and don’t know whether to drive or take a taxi?

It’s important to remember that alcohol can slow you down and affect your body’s responses making your driving unsafe, putting you and others at risk of accidents. 

The Law

The alcohol limit for drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is as follows:

  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood;
  • 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath; or
  • 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

How much can I drink and stay under the limit?

The amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be considered over the driving limit varies from person to person.

It depends on: 

  • Your weight, age and sex
  • The type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
  • What you’ve eaten recently
  • Your stress levels at the time
  • Certain medications

Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive so the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving.  

 

Units of alcohol

It roughly takes one hour for our bodies to process 1 unit of alcohol. There’s nothing you can do to speed up the rate alcohol leaves your system, we just have to let our liver do its job by breaking down the alcohol.

If you’re thinking about driving the morning after you’ve been drinking, it’s best to consider how much you had, and how late into the night it was before you finished your last drink.

How many units are in a glass or a bottle of wine?

Looking at 12% wine:

  • A standard 175ml glass would be 2.1 units.
  • A standard 750ml bottle would be about 9 units.

How many units are in a pint of beer, cider or lager?

Beers, ciders and lagers can have a lot of variation due to their different strengths:

  • A pint of 4% lager would be about 2.3 units
  • A pint of 6.6% beer would be about 3.8 units
  • A pint of 8.2% of cider would be about 4.7 units

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

A conviction for drink-driving also means:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA
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