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Drink Driving: The facts, the law and the consequences

Drink driving is dangerous and illegal – not just for yourself, but for those in your vehicle and everyone around you.

The consequences of drink driving are often highlighted around Christmas, with more people than usual heading out to festive events and Christmas parties where alcohol may be consumed.

Make sure you have a plan for your night out – if you are drinking, make sure you have a taxi booked (or at very least have a taxi phone number to hand), find out if there’s a late bus service running in your area or secure the driving services of a friend or relative.

In Devon & Cornwall, designated drivers can claim free soft drinks at a many pubs and restaurants through the Lift Legend scheme – find our more here.

Here’s some more information about drink driving which we hope will make your decision simple this Christmas – it’s never worth the risk.

Drink Driving – The Facts

Drink driving is illegal and puts lives at risk.

It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you depends on:

  • your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
  • what you’ve eaten recently
  • your stress levels at the time

So if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.

IAM RoadSmart calculates that a drink drive conviction could cost up to £70,00 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in the cost of car insurance, and losing a job.

The Law

There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers:

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

The Consequences

There are strict penalties if you are convicted of drink driving, including:

  • a minimum 12 month driving ban
  • a criminal record
  • an unlimited fine
  • up to 6 months in prison
  • an endorsement on your licence for 11 years

The maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs is 14 years in prison, with a minimum driving ban of two years.

In addition to these penalties are the everyday consequences of being caught drink driving which can include:

  • increase in car insurance costs
  • job loss
  • trouble getting in to countries like the USA
  • the shame of having a criminal record
  • loss of independence

Don’t risk it.