Yesterday the courts handed out Britain’s largest ever drink-driving fine of £86,000 to television presenter Ant Mcpartlin who was found to be more than double the legal limit when he was involved in a recent car accident. This fine was coupled with a 20 month driving ban.
Campaigns tend to focus on drink driving awareness around the festive periods but yesterday’s news shows it is something that we need to be vigilant about all year round. We thought we’d take this opportunity to offer a reminder that whilst drink driving rules are very strict, when it comes to alcohol everyone is different. For this reason it’s impossible to say how many drinks you can have whilst still being able to drive safely within the legal limits.
So how much is one unit of alcohol?
One unit is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of alcohol. But many measures contain more than one unit:
- There are 2.1 units in a 175ml glass of standard strength (12%) wine and 3 units in a large (250ml) glass
- There are 2 units in a pint of low strength (3.6%) lager, beer or cider and 3 units in a higher strength (5.2%) pint
- There is 1 unit in a single measure (25ml) of spirits.
The way that individuals are affected by alcohol can be impacted by a number of factors
- Your weight
- Whether you’re male or female
- Your age
- Your metabolic rate
- Your stress levels
- The type and strength of the alcohol
- Whether you’re on any medication and what that is
Don’t assume that if you have a few drinks on a night out that you will automatically be fine to drive the next day, it can take many hours for alcohol to leave your body and you could still be over the legal limit the following morning
The key message is that if you are planning to drive it is best to avoid alcohol all together. If your livelihood depends on you being able to drive, then it’s worth making sure you know the rules and limit as yesterday’s news is a timely reminder of the importance of being fit to drive.