Cracking down on drink driving over Christmas
20 December 2016 by Lauren Hancock
Tis’ the season to be jolly, merry but, above all, extra-vigilant on the roads. Enjoying the festivities with a glass of mulled wine or Baileys is to be expected at this time of year and of course many will celebrate the season at work parties and New Year’s celebrations. Sadly, a minority of revellers will choose to get behind the wheel at the end of the night, putting themselves and other road users at risk. Drink driving accidents account for 14% of all road deaths in Great Britain and, for some, the season of merriment will mean a flouting of the law on drink and drug driving and its consequences.
There is no clear-cut way for a person to drink and remain under the drink driving limit of 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood in England and Wales. Various factors dictate the speed at which alcohol is absorbed by the body including, weight, age, sex, stress levels and the type of alcohol being consumed. This varies from person to person. The only way to be certain that you have not exceeded the limit is to avoid alcohol altogether if you know you will be driving.
Essex Police launched their annual campaign to tackle drink and drug driving this month. By the 5th of December, 44 arrests had already been made, 32 for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and 12 for driving whilst under the influence of drugs. Nationally, in December 2014 Police carried out 133,996 breath tests, of which 5,885 were failures. The issue is not limited to the Christmas period. Between January and October of this year Essex police arrested 1,735 drivers on suspicion of drink and drug driving offences.
Many responsible drinkers and drivers forget that the risk doesn’t stop at the end of the night, with 20% of those arrested failing a breath test the following morning, between 6:00am and 12:00pm. Generally, the human body can only break down around one unit of alcohol per hour, meaning that it is not difficult to remain over the limit the next day.
If convicted of drink driving, those caught face up to 6 months imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a minimum one year driving ban, increasing to 3 years if caught twice in a ten year period. Eligible offenders may be offered the opportunity to undertake a drink-drive rehabilitation course, at a cost of £250.00. If completed within a specified period, their ban is usually reduced by a quarter.
Those convicted of driving whilst under the influence of drugs face up to 6 months imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a minimum one year driving ban. In addition, their driving licence will show they have been convicted of drug driving for a period of 11 years.
A sobering thought is that, if death is caused by dangerous and careless driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an offender can be sentenced to up to 14 years imprisonment.
By all means “eat, drink and be merry”, but stay safe on the roads this festive season.
If you have been caught drinking and driving or have been injured as a result of a road traffic accident involving a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the last 3 years, that was not your fault, and wish to consider making a claim please contact us on 01206 217524 for sympathetic and professional advice.
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