I only had a few drinks last night, am I ok to drive today?

Did you know…

During one Xmas, the police forces of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire made 55% of all drink-drive arrests between 5am and noon. It seems clear that there is a real chance of being over the limit the following day.

The consequences of a conviction

If you are caught drinking and driving you can be fined up to £2,500, face a year’s driving ban and even 6 months in prison. But the impact can reach much further:

  • You could lose your job. This is even more likely if you drive for your employer. You’ll also find it difficult to get another driving job in the future
  • Your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • You would get a criminal record. As well as the shame, you will find it hard to holiday in certain countries like the USA which require an entry visa
  • Refusal to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine could also get you 6 months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a ban from driving for at least 1 year.
  • You could harm or kill someone which would be devastating for the families of those involved and, of course, you.

Just imagine how much more frustrating all this would be if you had considered your drink limits and made a conscious decision not to drive after your night out – only to be caught over the limit the next day!

Are the police doing anything different at Christmas?

Police forces always take drink-driving extremely seriously, but it attracts more attention over Christmas. For example, Avon and Somerset constabulary have launched Operation Tonic which runs for a month and includes high visibility and covert patrols to target drink (and drug) drivers.

Supt. Andy Williams, Head of Road Safety in Avon and Somerset Constabulary says: “Our approach to Op Tonic promotes education over prosecution where possible and our ultimate aim is to reduce deaths, serious injuries and crime related to drink and drug driving.

This year’s campaign highlights the serious consequences of getting caught by police whilst driving under the influence. Driving is a liberty, it’s your choice to drink and drive and in doing so, you risk losing that liberty. Even being ‘slightly over’ the limit will still land you with a penalty if you’re caught.”

So the message is simple.

Consider your limits and all the contributing factors including metabolism, food intake, and your size.   Don’t necessarily assume that as you are 6’4 and 20 stone that you can drink more and your body will process the alcohol quicker than someone half your size. And, as Dr Sally Norton says “Alcohol may seem to help you get to sleep but your sleep quality is often impaired. The combination of a late night, poor sleep and alcohol still in your bloodstream is a particularly dangerous one for your concentration and reaction time.”   Keep it simple: if you really need to be driving the next morning, drink in moderation, stop before midnight and try to ensure a good 6 hours or more of sleep before you get behind the wheel.