Tuesday 24th December 2013
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With Christmas and New Years eve upon us, drinking and driving could be a temptation. There is no fool-proof way of being alert when you are drunk at the steering wheel. Annually, there are thousands of casualties and fatal accidents at this time of year. For some people, Christmas and New Years eve sheds tragic memories of the loss of loved ones due to motorists driving irresponsibly.

Drinking and driving limit

Although drinking and driving still exists, there has been a huge decline since the introduction of heavy campaigns from the 1980s. This decline has remarkably reduced by more than three quarters as we now view this as anti social behaviour.

When going out this Christmas, New Year or to celebrate anything else, don't chance it - pre-book a taxi. Play it safe, only consume alcohol if you are absolutely sure you don't have to drive. Even though the law states you can drink a small amount, it is and wiser safer to steer clear of drinking and driving all together.

If you are going out in a big group, nominate one person to drive who is willing to be tee-total. The tee-total driver can drink mock-tail cocktails, sodas, non-alcoholic beers or soft drinks such as J2O's. It is not the end of the world being the nominated driver; believe me your liver will feel much better for it!

If flagging or pre-booking a taxi is difficult, then why not take public transport. Check out the last bus, tube or train times for that given night and do not be late catching the return for your journey home.

Although, the UK law has excellent guidelines, they are, in fact, a mere strategy to give you guidance. Actually, there is no fool-proof way of knowing if you're driving over the limit, even if you just have one or two. The safest way is don't drink and drive - period.

Laws on drinking and driving

Currently, the UK drinking and driving law suggests:

Eighty milligrams of alcohol per hundred millilitres of blood

Thirty-five micrograms per hundred millilitres of breath or hundred-seven milligrams per hundred millilitres of urine.

Some European countries it is fifty milligrams per hundred millilitres of blood.

The UK guidelines suggest 3 to 4 units of alcohol for men per day and 2 to 3 units for women. One unit equates to ten millilitre of pure alcohol. One pint of beer or one large glass of wine is the equivalent to 2 - 3 units. Spirit servings vary from 25 to 50 millilitres depending on location and pubs. One 25 millilitre shot equates to one unit.

Ask yourself if it is really worth drinking and driving. The consequences for being caught intoxicated are harsh. Even if you are over the limit by a fraction your license can be confiscated for twelve months, you could be issued with a £5,000 fine, or sent to prison for six months. What punishment you receive depends on the severity of the offence, so it's just not worth it!

Drinking and driving impairments

Alcohol impairs our brain function to think correctly; we no longer have the capability to respond as quickly compared to not consuming alcohol. The ability to process information is lessoned and eye responses are delayed and our reaction times are much slower.

When we drink too much we can experience double or blurred vision, we can also feel sick and unbalanced. Of course, it is absurd to drive when under the influence of such high amounts of alcohol, but people still do it. The risk is too dangerous, drinking and driving could one-day cost you your life and other peoples.

It is not just the evening drinking and drinking to be concerned about, there is the morning after to consider. Do not assume you will sleep it off and everything will be alright. Many people are still intoxicated in the morning and are not aware they are driving over the limit.

<strong>Did you know?</strong> The drinking and driving laws became enforced in 1967, one year after England won the world cup. Prior to this there was no law however, the celebrations during this time and continuous accidents whilst drinking and driving led to many people seriously injured, and some killed. That's why the law was brought in. For the first 5 years many drivers were frustrated as they sometimes felt more confident behind the wheel. However, after this time as people began to understand the consequences it then became anti social to drink and drive. At the moment, using your mobile phone while driving is following the same road. It is very dangerous to use your phone behind the wheel. Many motorists still think this is ok, but I do believe the day is coming when this practice will also be seen as anti social, as well as breaking the law.

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