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DRINK DRIVE LIMITS: Everything you need to know

Drivers are being told to stay sober at Christmas parties as drink driving collisions and casualties surge over the festive period.

Experts at have made it easier to understand the legal drink driving limit in the UK and have advised those who are drinking at Christmas parties to completely avoid driving afterwards, or to find a different way home.

Although many think they’ll be fine to drive after a few pints, this can actually be over the legal drink driving limit - so it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether if planning to drive back home.

Convictions for drink driving are severe - hefty fines, the risk of imprisonment and driving bans will ruin Christmas: that’s why those who are drinking should plan ahead by booking a taxi or having a designated driver.

Tim Alcock from said: “Most of us think that we’re fine to drive back home after having a couple of pints or a glass of wine at our Christmas parties, but actually this can put most of us over the legal drinking limit.

“We want to send out a clear message to anyone planning to drink over the festive period - if you’re driving back home this Christmas, just don’t drink at all.

“It can be tempting to have a warm mulled wine or a pint with friends to celebrate the festivities, but it’s important to remember: if you’re drinking don’t drive, and if you’re driving, don’t drink.

“Everyone can enjoy a merry drinks night at your work Christmas party or when meeting up with friends and family over the festive period, but if you’re planning on driving back afterwards make sure to stick to mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks instead.

“Sort out arrangements before drinking to get home safely and legally afterwards, like pre-booking a taxi or having a designated driver who will be staying sober for the night.”

Although many will be drinking at Christmas parties and gatherings this year, it’s really important to know the legal limit and restrictions if driving back home afterwards - but the best advice is: if drinking, stay sober.

The legal drinking limits for driving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are:

• 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath

• 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood

• 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

And for Scotland, the limits are:

• 22 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath

• 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood

• 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

As a general rule, even having two pints of beer or a glass of wine can break the drink driving limit.

But there are several factors which will affect how much someone is impacted by alcohol and how much they can have and still drive.

Physical factors such as weight, age, sex and metabolism as well as the type of alcohol, stress levels, medication and how much food was eaten on the day can all affect the impact that alcohol has on the body.

The penalties for drink driving are severe - that’s why finding an alternative way home to avoid drinking is the best answer when alcohol has been consumed.

If found driving or attempting to drive whilst under the influence, unlimited fines can be handed out as well as up to six months imprisonment and at least a year driving ban - or three years if convicted twice within a decade.

Of course, if death is the result of someone drink driving, life imprisonment, fines and driving bans can be handed out.

Drink driving convictions don’t just involve fines and driving bans - they will affect car insurance prices, make it harder to travel overseas and drink driving codes will be added to the driving record.

It’s also important to remember that alcohol can still be in the body’s system the morning after a night of drinking - the stronger the drink the longer it will take to leave the body.

A pint will take around two hours to leave the average person’s body, but of course this does not guarantee the ability to drive safely.

Although drunk drivers on the road have reduced over the last few years, the latest figures still show that 6,000 people were killed or injured. are encouraging drivers to stay safe over the festive period - the best way to prevent collisions and casualties this Christmas is to avoid all alcohol if planning to drive back afterwards, or arrange alternative means to get back home.


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