Drivers Fact Sheets

Drink Driving

 The Crashes

  1. On average 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions.
  2. Nearly one in six of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.
  3. Drinking and driving occurs across a wide range of age groups but particularly among young men aged 17-29 in both casualties and positive breath tests following a collision. The Government’s most recent drink drive campaigns aims to target this group.
  4. When the Government first published statistics in 1979, 1,640 people were killed in drink-related crashes.
  5. Some 20,000 lives are estimated to have been saved in the last 13 years thanks to central government drink drive campaigns.

The Body

  1. The legal limit in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.
  2. But there is no failsafe guide as to how much you can drink and stay under the limit.
  3. It can depend on many factors such as the amount and type of alcoholic drink, your weight, sex, age, food intake and metabolism.
  4. The only safe option is not to drink any alcohol if you plan to drive and never offer an alcoholic drink to anyone else who is driving.
  5. Alcohol affects your ability to drive safely as your reaction times are impaired and you’re unable to judge speed and distances.
  6. People who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.
  7. And if you think you won’t get caught, more than half a million breath tests are carried out each year and on average 100,000 are found to be positive.

The Morning After

  1. If you’ve been out drinking you may still be affected by alcohol the next day. You may feel OK, but you may still be unfit to drive or over the legal alcohol limit.
  2. You could still lose your licence if you drive the next day when you’re still over the legal alcohol level.
  3. It’s impossible to get rid of alcohol any faster. A shower, a cup of coffee or other ways of ‘sobering up’ will not help. It just takes time.

 The Law

  1. Driving or attempting to drive whilst above the legal limit or unfit through drink carries a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000 and a minimum 12 months driving ban.
  2. 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.
  3. Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal limit or unfit through drink could result in 3 months’ imprisonment plus a fine of up to £2,500 and a driving ban.
  4. The penalty for refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis is a maximum 6 months’ imprisonment, up to £5000 fine and a driving ban of at least 12 months.
  5. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, a minimum 2 year driving ban and a requirement to pass an extended driving test before the offender is able to drive legally again.

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