Head of Regulatory & Corporate Defence Jeremy Scott reviews the 2016 Christmas Drink Drive campaign and the law behind it.

On 1 December 2016, the government launched its THINK! Christmas drink drive campaign specifically targeting young males, as figures show they account for almost two thirds of drink drivers killed on our roads.

The campaign targets young men through Facebook, Twitter and Spotify, with 5.4 million British males aged 25 to 34 on Facebook alone.

Whilst driving offences have decreased since the 1980’s, sadly, one in seven road deaths is a result of a drink-drive related collision.

Department for Transport research found 20% of young men have at sometime had two or more drinks before driving. A third told researchers they felt it wouldn’t impact on their driving. However, research from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reveals a second drink doubles a driver’s chances of being involved in a fatality.

The first nine days of the campaign in North Yorkshire saw 41 arrests made, a huge increase of 70% on the same point in 2015. Disappointingly, a further 19 arrests have been made in the week to 16 December 2016 – bringing the total to 60 made in the first 15 days of the campaign.

In South Yorkshire police officers have stopped and arrested nearly 400 Christmas drink drivers in the last three years. In an effort to reduce the figures, the police are increasing patrols, carrying out more spot checks and naming and shaming those charged with drink driving on Twitter.

The police can stop anyone if they think they may be driving with too much alcohol in their body. If stopped, the driver will be asked to take a breathalyser test to measure the amount of alcohol in their breath. If the test is positive, the driver will be arrested and taken to a police station for further tests – possibly involving blood and urine.

If found to be over the limit, the consequences could include:

  • Job loss
  • Loss of independence
  • Shame of having a criminal conviction
  • Trouble getting into countries like the USA
  • Massive increase in car insurance costs, and some companies won’t insure you
  • Disqualification from driving for at least 12 months and a large fine
  • Prison sentence of up to six months

IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) calculates that a drink drive conviction could cost up to £50,000 as a result.

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in England and Wales is:

  • 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine

However it is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. Your alcohol level depends upon many factors including:

  • weight, age, gender and metabolism
  • type and amount of alcohol consumed
  • eating patterns
  • stress levels

Jeremy commented “You can still be over the limit the morning after and there is now a much greater chance that you will be caught as breath testing methods have advanced dramatically over recent years.”

For further help or advice, please contact Jeremy Scott on 07971 520407

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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