Beware the perils of summer drink driving

Beer on table next to car keys
Boozy barbecues, music festivals and long afternoons spent in a pub garden with friends… Summer is full of good reasons to have a few drinks. Perhaps that’s why a recent AA survey found that many drivers are tempted to drink-drive in the summer compared to the cold, winter months – notwithstanding with the festive season in December. Edmund King, AA president, said summer drink-driving should have as much if not more attention than the perceived peak times of Christmas and New Year: “It is crucial that drivers and their friends and family consider the hazards of drinking and driving on all occasions.” Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. And by drinking and driving, you risk your life, those of your passengers and others on the road.

The risks

Accidents caused by drink-driving have fallen dramatically over the last 50 years as more and more people wake up to the dangers of taking the wheel while under the influence. (It should be noted, however, that 400 drivers a month are being arrested for drug driving – a new offence introduced in March.) However, figures from drink drive campaigners Think! show that there were still 230 deaths caused by drink drivers on UK roads in 2012. And even if you avoid injuring anyone by driving after having a drink, you risk a hefty fine, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record if you get caught. You may even have to spend up to six months in prison if you are found behind the wheel with a lot of alcohol in your bloodstream. A typical drink drive conviction costs the motorist involved between £20,000 and £50,000 in fines and solicitors’ fees, plus other related costs such as higher insurance premiums – according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists. If you have to drive for work, you also risk losing your job, not to mention the independence that having a driving licence offers. To sum up, driving under the influence means risking: - A hefty fine - A prison sentence - Losing your licence for at least 12 months - Increased car insurance costs - A criminal record - Job loss - Difficulty gaining entry to certain countries, notably the US - Loss of mobility and independence - A conviction being noted on your licence for 11 years.  

The limits

Ever felt tipsy after one glass of wine? Or can you put away pint after pint of beer, apparently without feeling the effects? That’s because the way alcohol affects you depends on a number of factors such as your weight, age, sex and metabolism, what you’ve eaten recently and your stress levels at the time. Think! therefore advises anyone planning to drive to avoid alcohol altogether – even though you are allowed some alcohol in your system by law. This also avoids the risk of inadvertently exceeding the legal limits, which we have nevertheless outlined below. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is: - 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   In Scotland, the limit is lower at: - 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood - 67 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

Did you enjoy that? Why not share this article