A survey commissioned by the UK’s leading independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has revealed that the majority of motorists are unaware of the amount of alcohol that will tip them over the limit, while half admit they are prepared to drive the morning after festive drinks or their Christmas party. Indeed, of over 1,000 motorists surveyed, 50% confessed they were likely to get behind the wheel the next morning following festive drinks, even though it takes many hours before large amounts of alcohol leave the blood stream.
Perhaps even more worryingly, when respondents were asked how many micrograms of alcohol are permitted in 100 millilitres of breath before they would fail a police breathalyser, on average, the answer was 52. This is despite the fact the actual threshold is only 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.
The other problem many drivers have is understanding how long it takes a for a few drinks to wear off. The answer is, nobody knows on an individual level, since people process alcohol at different rates and factors like body weight, age, water intake, medications, exercise, food intake etc could also affect the rate of detox. But the short answer is that if you drink until you feel `merry’ then you are probably over the drink drive limit until well into the next day, assuming you stopped drinking at midnight. In general it takes about 12 hours for booze to leave the system to the extent where you might feel normal again – although you will still have some alcohol in you bloodstream even then.
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These admissions have concerned IAM RoadSmart, leading the charity to call for drivers to take more responsibility this festive period, plan ahead and be extra careful.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “Drinking and driving simply does not mix and every driver should plan to leave the keys at home rather than face a fine, lengthy ban or time in a police cell. Worryingly, the research also highlights that there is still real ignorance regarding how much alcohol is enough before it is illegal to drive. Although motorists may well think they know how many drinks will typically tip them over the limit, individual characteristics such as body weight, food consumption, gender and metabolism will also determine the reading.”
To learn more about IAM RoadSmart, including their drink driving safety initiatives, visit www.iamroadsmart.com/drink-drive.