Do you know your drink drive limit?

by Criminal Defence Blawg on January 16, 2013

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Guest post regarding drink drive limits and recent research from LV.

One in five UK drivers have no idea how many units are contained in any alcoholic drink, putting them at increased risk of drink driving, according to new research from LV=.

With the Scottish Government recently consulting on plans to lower the drink drive limit still further, the insurer warns that the only way to be sure that you are under the limit is not to drink alcohol before driving.

Drink-drive statistics

According to road safety charity, Brake, in 2011, one in seven road deaths in Britain involved drink drivers, and 280 road deaths and 1,290 road casualties occurred when someone was over the drink drive limit. A further estimated 65 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink drive limit, but who have a significant amount of alcohol in their blood.

Drink driving on the increase

Drink driving is actually on the increase, according to a recent study by LV=.

It found that the number of drivers confessing to driving while under the influence of alcohol has almost doubled since 2009. One in six (15%) drivers admitted that they have driven while over the legal alcohol limit at some point despite the fact that the majority (88%) of these admit it affects their ability to drive.

If you’re charged with drink driving in Scotland, contact criminal defence lawyers like McSporrans specialist road traffic lawyers who will be able to give you the best possible legal and practical advice on what you should do.

Confusion about alcohol units

This upward trend in drink driving is being exacerbated by widespread confusion about the number of alcohol units in popular pub drinks, says LV=. One in five (20%) drivers cannot name the correct number of units in any alcoholic drink, with a pint of lager being the most frequently underestimated. Four out of five (80%) drivers think it has fewer units than it actually does.

As well as not knowing how much alcohol a drink contains, a significant number of motorists have no idea how much they can consume before they would be over the legal limit to drive.

The law states that a driver can have a maximum of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 35mcg per 100ml of breath or 107mg per 100ml of urine. This equates to approximately four units for an average man and two to three units for an average woman – yet only a third (34%) of drivers can correctly say what the legal limits are.

Limits to be lowered

Given this confusion, and the fact that the Scottish Government is pushing forward plans to lower the drink driving limit in Scotland, it is likely that more people than ever will soon find themselves with a conviction for drink driving.

If approved, as seems likely, the limits will reduce to a maximum of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 22mcg per 100ml of breath or 67mg per 100ml of urine.

“Estimates of how many lives can be saved with a lower limit do vary, but there is evidence that indicates between three and seventeen lives each year could be saved on Scottish roads from a lower limit of 50mg/100ml,” said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, speaking in September, when a consultation on the plans was launched.

Criminal Defence Blawg

Criminal Defence Blawg

Criminal law blogger at CriminalDefenceBlawg
Criminal Defence Blawg is a criminal law blog, sharing legal expertise and intelligence from the UK, US, Australia and beyond. Contributions from those who share great legal information. Want to get published? Contact us today.
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