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Drink Driving Over Christmas - Is it Really Worth it?

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Drink driving; something that injures and kills innocent people every day, something that can be prevented, something that doesn't have to happen, but still does. With Christmas just around the corner, the next few weeks may consist of office parties, Christmas meals with friends and drinking a good glass (or two) of hot mulled wine under the Christmas tree. If you drive, you’ll also have got used to being bombarded with anti-drink driving campaigns over the years. Every Christmas a series of adverts are aired in which you’re told that if you get caught drink driving your world will fall apart but even if you don't get caught, the consequences could be much worse; there was 240 deaths in 2016 from drink driving. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-alcohol/2018/part-6 


During the Christmas holidays, an average of 200 drivers were arrested for drink driving every day! During 2017/2018, an anti-drink drive campaign was carried out and a total of 191,040 drivers were tested for drunk driving, of which 6,550 people failed (or tested positive). This data was compiled by the Association of Chief Police Officers across England, Northern Ireland and Wales from the 29th November to the 1st January.

Alcohol is measured in units, and the below could surprise you. From a health angle, the NHS recommends that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day, and for women no more than 2-3 units a day, however even just one drink can affect your driving ability.
• 25ml (single shot) of 40% spirit (eg. Vodka, whisky) = 1 unit
• Pint of 4% beer = 2 units
• 250ml glass of 15% wine = 4 units
• Pint of 5.5% cider = 3 units
• 250ml RTD (eg. WKD) = 2 units
• Bottle of 12% wine = 9 units

The Limit?

The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for driving in the UK is 80mg of alcohol for every 100ml of blood, however there’s no proven way to judge if you’re over the limit by taking note of how much you’ve drunk, as many factors can contribute to how alcohol affects each individual – the only way you can be sure you’re safe is to consume zero alcohol. Even if you’re legally allowed to drive after drinking alcohol, you may still be at risk of harming both yourself and other road users. Drivers with as little as 20-50mg of alcohol in their blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood. The morning after? A lot of people think that the morning after a night out is fine for them to drive but, believe it or not, a high amount of drunk drivers caught on the road are caught the morning after their night out as they still have a high level of alcohol in their system. Feeling ‘sober’ isn’t a reliable guide to knowing whether you can drive or not, and drinking coffee, eating a meal or bracing a cold shower won’t make the alcohol leave your body any faster. The following rough guide for judging how long it takes for alcohol to leave your system was created by NHS Choices:  https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/how-long-does-alcohol-stay-in-your-blood/ Roughly one hour for the alcohol to be absorbed and one hour more for each unit consumed.


Consequences?

Below are just some of the consequences of drunk driving;
• Being found guilty of driving while above the legal drink driving limit will result in punishment that could affect the rest of your life.
• Anyone caught over the legal alcohol limit when driving will be banned from driving for at least 12 months, fined up to £5,000 and receive between three and 11 penalty points.
• They could also be sent to prison for up to six months. All these factors – the length of imprisonment, period of disqualification, size of fine and penalty points depend on the severity of the offence.
• An endorsement for a drink-driving offence remains on a driving licence for 11 years, so it is 11 years before a convicted driver will have a “clean” licence again.
• Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal limit or unfit through drink could result in three months’ imprisonment plus a fine of up to £2,500 and a driving ban.
• The penalty for refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis is a maximum of six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000 and a driving ban of at least 12 months. Why ruin Christmas for yourself, other road users, family and friends?

If you are planning to have a drink on that Christmas Party make sure you have a designated driver or a taxi….. not an ambulance or a police car!
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