Drink driving — don't be a plonker
Drink driving is a serious criminal offence and is seen as highly socially unacceptable in the UK. The legal limit for drink driving in the UK is measured in blood alcohol content (BAC), currently it stands at 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath, 80 milligrams per 100ml of blood or 107 milligrams per 100ml of urine.
Anyone caught driving or in charge of a vehicle with a higher BAC than this can expect to be convicted of drink driving. Penalties for drink driving depend on the seriousness of the offence but will almost certainly include a ban of at least 12 months and a fine of up to £5000. More serious offences can result in a prison sentence up to six months and an even longer driving ban.
People suspected of drink driving can also be charged for failing to provide samples for analysis. Failing to give a roadside breath test can result in a fine of up to £1000 and 4 penalty points and failing or refusing to provide further samples carries the same penalties as drink driving.
When the police suspect someone of drink driving the first thing they will normally do is ask for a breath test. They may request a breath test at the roadside from anyone who they reasonably believe has committed a traffic offence or consumed alcohol before driving. If the breath test is positive, or the driver fails to give one, they will be arrested and taken to the police station to provide further samples.
These may be breath again or blood or urine, depending on the machines available and the police officers discretion. If there is a valid reason to favour one type of sample over another, such as a medical condition, this should be taken into account, blood samples may only be taken by qualified medical practitioners.
There is no proven way to drink and stay under the drink driving limit, your BAC and the way alcohol affects your judgement and ability to drive is different for everyone and can depend on a person’s
- Stress level
- Whether they have eaten
The best way to avoid committing a drink driving offence is to not drink at all before getting behind the wheel. Being convicted of drink driving is likely to have a long term effect on your life – you’ll be disqualified from driving and ordered to pay a hefty fine, not to mention the social stigma attached to drink drivers and the possibility of prison for serial offenders.
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