Drink driving – the consequences

 

In the last 30 years road casualties caused by drink driving have fallen dramatically, but Provisional estimates for 2019 show that between 240 and 320 people were killed in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, with a central estimate of 280 deaths. The provisional estimate of fatalities for 2019 is the highest since 2009.1

By drinking and driving, you risk your life, those of your passengers and others on the road.

Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. You risk a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.

The law

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. 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.

The consequences can be devastating

Drink driving

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

  • A minimum 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • An endorsement on your license for 11 years

However, this list does not reflect 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;
  • Relationship breakdown;
  • The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 – £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job.
  • Shame, grief, depression. For the rest of your life.

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-provisional-estimates-involving-illegal-alcohol-levels-2019/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-provisional-estimates-involving-illegal-alcohol-levels-2019, accessed August 2021

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