Did you take part in Dry January?

Blog post posted on 15/02/23 |

According to Alcohol Change, nearly 9 million people across the UK were set to participate in Dry January this year! Were you one of them?  

With Christmas time being one of the biggest periods for celebration each year, many of us over-indulge in our favourite treats, including a few drinks to end the year.

IAM RoadSmart commissioned a survey in 2022 which asked 1,004 motorists about the maximum number of alcohol units they would have at a party or event, and still drive home. Shockingly, over four-in-ten (41 per cent) of respondents stated that they would drink anywhere between one to ten units of alcohol, and still get behind the wheel. 

Although Dry January has just finished, IAM RoadSmart always recommends “None for the road”.  

Richard Gladman, Chief Examiner at IAM RoadSmart, dispels some of the myths and highlights the lasting effects of drink driving: 

The morning after:

It’s not just the night before that you need to be sensible about and plan for. When you get up the next day you’ll need to know if you’re fit to drive. Do you know how long it takes before alcohol is at a low enough level for you to drive? There is a calculator here (for England and Wales) and here (for Scotland), but rather than wait until the next morning, have a look now - you will probably be shocked! Every drop counts and if you don’t count the alcohol, you’ll be counting the cost. 

Anything left in the car?

It’s not just driving while drunk you can get caught for. Being ‘in-charge’ of a vehicle extends to having the keys, collecting items from the car, and is not limited to sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running.  Leave the keys and the vehicle at home! Why take the chance of having to explain your intentions to the court? 

Time is the key

Nothing else works, you should never rely on any other method. Showering, sleeping, copious amounts of coffee and even eating won’t suffice. The only thing that counts is time. That’s time from the last drop drunk to it working out of your system. 

Eating is a myth

Eating food won’t help you absorb alcohol faster; in fact, it can slow it down. Alcohol is absorbed into the body via the small intestine, not the stomach. So, if you’ve eaten it will take LONGER for the alcohol to reach your intestine. While, eating a kebab or pizza AFTER a night out drinking won’t soak up the alcohol consumed, eating a meal prior to, or alongside drinking, slows the rate in which the alcohol is absorbed.  You might therefore feel better, not get drunk as easily but it doesn’t help with the time factor. That required four-hour time limit could increase to six before you can get back behind the wheel.  

Long lasting effects

The hangover might be done in a day but the effects of getting caught will last years. A drink driving endorsement, DR10, will remain on your licence for up to 11 years. That’s drive or attempt to drive. 1 in 9 drivers are caught the morning after, for failing a breath test.  

While there are legal limits, these differ from England to Scotland. Crossing the border to Scotland from England or Wales changes the limits. Measured in micrograms per 100 millilitres; (Blood is milligrams per 100 millilitres as is urine) the limits are: 

Breath is 35 lowering to 22 for Scotland: Blood 80 lowering to 50 for Scotland and Urine 107 dropping to 67 for Scotland.  

Penalty points

It’s more than the points. A drink driving positive test will lead to a conviction, imprisonment and a ban. It’s also a criminal offence so you’ll have a criminal record which may prohibit you from travel to certain countries. This applies to the USA.  

Travel restrictions

Drunk in charge of a vehicle (remember that’s not limited to driving) could lead to 3-month imprisonment, a £2,500 fine, and a ban. Drink driving means an unlimited fine and 6-month sentence plus a driving ban of 1 to 3 years. Refusing to provide a specimen or sample you won’t get away with.

Causing death while under the influence has the heaviest penalty, as you would expect, of up to 14 years in prison, a two-year ban, unlimited fine and you’ll have to re-apply for your licence. The impact on your conscience will no doubt last for a lot longer.   

If you have had one too many, will you remember what you have drunk? Can you make a true calculation before getting behind the wheel? Rather than worrying about how much you can have, think about how long it takes to work out of your system, and don’t drink if you must drive. That means from the last drop until the second you approach the vehicle. It could be even longer than 12 hours if you have more than one glass or pint.  

Stick to #Nonefortheroad!