Christmas is generally a time for getting together with families and friends to celebrate the joy that the festive season brings. These celebrations mean parties, and parties generally mean alcohol. But sadly for some, this can lead to a greater temptation to drink and drive, which can mean fatal consequences – both for the driver of the vehicle and anyone involved in the resulting collision.
While recent research shows that attitudes have changed greatly towards drinking and driving over the decades, figures show that more than 2,000 people were convicted of drink or drug driving in West Yorkshire in 2012. And as you are reading this, West Yorkshire Police will have launched its seasonal campaign to crack down on those who choose to drink or take drugs, before getting behind the wheel of a car.
There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers:
- 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
However, it is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. Alcohol affects you depending on:
- Your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
- The type and amount of alcohol you drink
- What you’ve eaten recently
- Your stress levels
Penalties for drink driving include:
- A minimum 12-month driving ban
- A criminal record
- A fine of up to £5,000
- An endorsement on your licence for 11 years
Yet the consequences of drink driving can be far more wide ranging, including:
- Increased car insurance costs
- Job loss
- Trouble getting into countries like the USA
- Loss of independence
- A prison sentence – causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.
Hints and tips:
- Beware the morning after
- You could be over the legal limit for many hours after your last drink – even if it’s the ‘morning after’. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don’t help you to sober up.
- There is no excuse for drink driving
- Alcohol creates a feeling of overconfidence, which can make judging distance and speed more difficult, and can delay your reactions.
- Most drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.
- If you’re planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving
- Agree on a designated driver, get a taxi or use public transport
- Don’t offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive
- Even if you’re not driving, you can help to reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year through drink driving.
- Don’t accept a lift from someone you know has consumed alcohol