While many people understand the dangers of drink and drug driving, there is still a minority of people who think that drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is safe. Do not let yourself - or anyone else - be the victim of your drink and drug driving this Christmas.
The truth is that any amount of alcohol in your system can affect your judgement and response time, and this ultimately can increase your chances of being involved in a road traffic collision where someone is injured or even killed.
The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit (RPU) runs a summer and Christmas drink drive campaign jointly with the County Council. December sees the greatest number of drink drive-related incidents on the county’s road. The campaign aims to inform motorists of the consequences of drinking or taking drugs and then getting behind the wheel. It also serves to warn anyone tempted to drink and drive, that they will very likely be caught and arrested.
Increased patrols in December
Patrols are increased throughout December and officers will breathalyse drivers following a road traffic collision, a moving traffic offence or when drink driving is suspected. Drug impairment tests are also used to identify those who have taken controlled drugs before getting behind the wheel.
Many drivers do not realise that they can still be over the drink drive limit from alcohol consumed the previous evening.
Patrols are also conducted around the clock, meaning motorists who use their vehicle the morning after a big night out can still be caught for drink driving. Many drivers do not realise that they can still be over the drink drive limit from alcohol consumed the previous evening, even after a night’s sleep.
Those who provide positive tests will face tough penalties including:
- A minimum of a 12-month disqualification for anyone convicted of drink driving, as well as a fine of up to £5,000 and six months in prison. Those convicted will also gain a criminal record and penalty points on their licence for 10 years. Their insurance costs will increase dramatically, hiring a car will become all but impossible and entry to some foreign countries denied.
- Even being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in the body could result in a prison sentence of up to three months, a driving ban and a fine of up to £2,500.
- Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol can result in a prison term of up to 14 years.
The only safe limit is no alcohol.
The legal alcohol limit for driving is 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath, or 80 milligrams per 100ml of blood but any alcohol will impair the ability to drive. However, it is impossible to calculate the amount a person can drink and remain under the drink drive limit as this will vary from person to person and a number of other factors including gender, weight and age. So the only safe limit is none.
We advise the following alternatives to drink driving:
- If you have to take the car, make sure you stick to non-alcoholic drinks rather than having one glass of wine or a pint of beer and hoping you’ll be under the legal limit – you can’t calculate your limit so don’t try to.
- Take it in turns for one of your party to be the designated driver on nights out.
- Leave the car at home and use public transport or take a registered taxi - why not pre-book one with a reputable company before you go out.
- Stick to soft drinks – it tends to be a cheaper alternative as well as helping you avoid that ‘morning after the night before’ feeling.
You can report someone you suspect of drinking or taking drugs before driving
The information provided will be acted upon by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit (RPU), which spearheads the efforts to tackle drink driving.