Most drivers don’t know how much alcohol will tip them over the drink-drive limit

Motorist breathalised by police

How many drinks could you have, and still be happy to drive?

According to a survey by road safety charity IAM Roadsmart, the majority of drivers don’t know how much alcohol would tip them over the drink-drive limit, while half admit they’d be confident driving the morning after a few festive drinks.

The charity is calling for drivers ‘to take more responsibility this festive period, plan ahead and be extra careful’.

Drink-drive limit

In the survey of 1,000 motorists, drivers were asked how many micrograms of alcohol would put them over the drink drive limit and cause them to fail a police breathalyser. The average answer was 52, despite the actual threshold being only 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

In addition, 50% confessed they would be happy to drive the morning after festive drinks or a Christmas party, not considering how long it takes for large amounts of alcohol to leave their blood stream.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, raised his concerns: “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.

“So, if you’re planning to drink alcohol at a Christmas celebration, do not try to calculate whether or not you are over the limit. It is always best to make it none for the road.”

Call for better road safety

IAM Roadsmart has reiterated its plea to the Government to introduce longer term measures to help reduce the number of motorists drink-driving.

These measures would include a lower drink-drive limit to reinforce good behaviour, fast-track of evidential roadside testing machines to release police resources and tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems.

Neil said: “A prosecution for drink driving this month will not only ruin your Christmas but also impact the rest of your life through public humiliation, loss of job, family break-up and a criminal record. At IAM RoadSmart, we estimate that last drink that takes you over the limit could cost you up to £70,000! If that isn’t a sobering thought then nothing is.”


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