Know the limits: A drink-drive guide

There has been a lot of talk recently in the press and on social media about the sentencing for driving offences particularly the more serious offences that include impaired driving such a drink and drugs driving and how these can aggravate occasions when death occurs as a result.

I’m in favour of an increase in the sentences that are handed out by the courts for the most serious ‘death by’ offences where young and old are dying on our roads.

The problem with our drink-drive laws is the fact that drivers in this country are allowed to drink and drive. This seems a strange statement but it’s true you can drink and drive as long as you don’t exceed a certain level.

How do you know that when you get behind the wheel you are alcohol-free and not impaired?

There is only one certain way of doing this and that’s not to drink alcohol prior to driving but if you do there is a way that you can manage the amount of alcohol you drink in relation to the time that you get behind the wheel and drive.

The important point to make now is that this is not a way to beat the breathalyser but a way to manage your alcohol intake.

So where do we start?

  • You must make a mental note of THE TIME YOU START DRINKING.
  • You must make a note of the NUMBER OF UNITS you take in whilst drinking.

So how do we do this?

On each can or bottle that contains alcohol, the units of alcohol contained in the drink will be identified on the container.

A healthy adult liver will process (burn up) alcohol at the rate of 1 unit per hour. This is not guesswork it’s scientifically proven.

So for example, if you buy 4 cans of beer from the supermarket or off licence you need to check how many units are in each of the cans. On a standard can or bottle there is usually up to 2 units per can. 

So if you started drinking at 7 pm and drank four cans containing 2 units per can that 8 units in total.

So 8 units equals 8 hours so that means when you get behind the wheel at 4 am the following morning you will be alcohol-free and safe to drive. 

NOTE we have shown 9 hours because we add an hour just to be on the safe side and to ensure that all the alcohol has been absorbed by the liver.

The danger here is that you are drinking in the pub or at home and you do not know how many units you have drunk. YOU NEED TO BE SURE BEFORE YOU GET BEHIND THE WHEEL.

The best policy is you don’t drink and drive but you need to know, after drinking, when it is safe to get behind the wheel and this is the way to do this because it may be far longer than you expect.

Image source West Midlands Police

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