What You Need To Know About Drink Drive Limits

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is still responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries each year. The accident rate is, in fact, still increasing each year. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself and others safe.

What Is The Legal Drink-Driving Limit?

It depends where in the UK you are. Scotland has a lower limit than the rest of the UK. For Scotland, the limit is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood and 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. In England, Nothern Ireland and Wales, the limit is higher at 80mg/100ml of blood and 35µg/100ml of breath.

Scotland’s limit is more in line with limits in Europe. There are many calls for the limit to be reduced in the rest of the UK as well.

How Many Units of Alcohol Can You Drink And Be Under The Limit?

As everyone metabolises alcohol differently, and the same person can be affected differently on different days, there is no simple rule.

One unit of alcohol contains 8g of alcohol. So, as a very rough estimate, one unit of alcohol would lead to a blood alcohol level of about 16mg/100ml.

The only way to be positive that you are under the limit is not to drink anything at all. Alternatively, you can get cheap breathalyser that will give you a slightly more accurate estimate of your alcohol level. These are not 100% reliable but can give you an idea.

How Many Hours After Drinking Is It Safe To Drive?

Once again this will vary from person to person. There is no way to speed the process up. Drinking coffee, showering and sleeping do nothing to speed the process up. It is all a matter of time.

Research into this question suggests that it takes about an hour for the average person to clear one unit of alcohol from their body. So, if you drink one glass of wine, which is two units, you should wait at least two hours to know it is gone from your system.

What Are The Penalties For Drink Driving?

If caught over the limit while driving you can receive a prison sentence, a driving ban and a fine. The exact amounts will depend on the magistrates and the circumstances. The guidance for just being in the driver’s seat with the car keys while over the limit include three months in jail and a fine of £2,500. The penalties go up from there.

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