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Do you know your drink drive limit?

 Published 14th December 2016
Driver Guides 

Drink driving awareness has improved over the years. So many people now grab cabs, arrange transport or even nominate a driver. This is great. But for some reason Christmas unravels all the good work we do throughout the year. We all seem to undo our belts, breathe out and leave the diet and responsibility to the New Year.

Be prepared this Christmas

Yet we also lower our guard when it comes to alcohol consumption too. It's almost inevitable that we are going to get caught out by the conviviality of the season. Think of this. You leave the car at the station, go to work, join the office party, have more than you anticipate, eventually fall out of the train then drive the car home. Or what about popping out for a swift half, meet up with friends who convince you that is really is their turn to buy you a Christmas drink and before you know it you're over the limit. It's no excuse, we have to plan ahead and anticipate what might happen.

Yet even when you make plans and catch a group minibus home have you considered whether you are over the limit the following morning? Quite often people don't even consider this possibility.

The same can be overwhelming

Just imagine the scenario of the following morning after a night out you caused an accident. Remember in 2013 over 240 people were killed. No one set out that morning expecting a tragic set of events to occur. We can all drive badly but to add alcohol into the mix is a disaster waiting to happen. The knock on effects can be astonishing. Not only have you taken someone's life it does not stop there. Some people never recover from causing a fatal accident; the guilt and shame can be overwhelming. Then there's the court appearance, a potential ban that could affect your livelihood, really expensive vehicle insurance and maybe injury. Is it worth taking the risk? Definitely not.

It's time to think about our responsibility when we switch on the engine of our vehicles. We need to be responsible, pragmatic and community minded. We all have the responsibility to drive safely and basically say: 'If I drive I won't drink.' That really is a way to eliminate any doubt.

So let's look again at the drink drive limits in England and Wales.

The alcohol limit for drivers is:

  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine

In most other European countries, the limit is less, usually 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.

What is the drink-driving limit in Scotland?

The alcohol limit for drivers in Scotland is different than in England and Wales. In December 2014, the limit was reduced to 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood. The breath alcohol equivalent reduced to 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

The reason for this is that Scotland wanted to be in line with other European countries and help make the roads even safer.

So if this has left you confused, look at this to clarify the position.

Do you know your drink limit?

Drink driving - units

So bear in mind there is no certainty when it comes to keeping under the limit.

Different drinks have different strengths of alcohol and you might be tall, short, fat, thin, male or female. It also depends on what and how much you might have eaten before or with your drink and how quickly your metabolic rate processes food and even how stressed you might be feeling.

For some, even one drink can impair judgment behind the wheel so don't risk it.

Remember if you drink you run the risk of being over the limit today, tonight or even tomorrow morning.

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