Drink driving

Over the past 50 years the number of road casualties caused by drink driving has fallen dramatically, however we are still seeing far too many. 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 – driving while over the limit can result in a large fine and a driving ban, but that’s only if your drive is incident-free.

People are injured and killed and families devastated as a result of drink driving – it is not worth the risk.

The law

There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers:

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

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrams 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 penalties if you are convicted of drink driving, including:

  • A minimum 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A hefty fine (of up to 5,000)
  • Up to six months in prison
  • An endorsement on your licence 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.

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 system. More information.

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.

Report a drink driver

Here in Cambridgeshire we have a designated, confidential hotline number for you to report drink drivers and those driving under the influence of drugs.

Using the 0800 032 0845 number, which is available 24/7, allows you to supply us with information to help us reduce the number of drink drivers on our roads.

When calling the number you will be asked to provide as much information as possible about the driver, including the name of the driver if possible, and the make, colour and index number of the vehicle.

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