Drink driving

drink driving 50 years It's not worth the risk

In the last 50 years road casualties caused by drink driving have fallen dramatically, but in 2012, there were still 230 deaths due to drink driving – accounting for 13% of all road fatalities. 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:

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:

  • 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

In Scotland (from 5 December 2014) the legal alcohol limit for drivers is lower at:

  • 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 67 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

There are strict penaltiesOpens new window 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

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.

Read about how a drink drive conviction ruined Jeremy’s life Opens new window

 

THINK! Advice



Beware the morning after
You could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it's the 'morning after'. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don't help to sober you up - time is the only way to get alcohol out of your systemOpens new window


There is no excuse for drink driving
"I can handle my drink."

Alcohol affects everybody's driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop

"I'm only going down the road."

A large proportion of all drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.


If you're planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving
Options include agreeing on a designated driver, saving a taxi number to your phone, or finding out about public transport routes and times before you go out.


Don't offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive
Even if you're not driving, you can help reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year by drink driving.


Don't accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol

Watch Moment of Doubt video

WATCH: This anniversary film reminds drivers that 50 years on drinking and driving still wrecks lives.

WATCH: The first drink drive ad aired in 1964. This montage shows how ads have changed over the last 50 years

WATCH: More from Think!

LISTEN: Consequences of being caught drink driving

DOWNLOAD: Print off a campaign poster

THINK! Education

THINK! Resource Centre

THINK! road safety education resources organised into lesson packs by age and key stage: