Christmas drink drive figures released

AccidentsFigures released today have shown that 7,124 drivers were arrested during a month-long drink-drive crackdown over the Christmas period*.   Across all age groups 4.55% of those tested were then arrested, but unfortunately this figure increased in the under 25’s, to 5.73%.

The effects of alcohol

Even a small amount of alcohol (such as half a pint of lager) can affect your reaction times, judgement and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for you to assess your own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means you are more inclined to take risks and believe you are in control when in fact you are not. For these reasons, the only way for drivers to be safe is to not drink anything at all before driving.

It is also impossible to calculate how much alcohol you have in your blood (even if you know exactly how much you have consumed), or how long it will stay in your system. The speed at which alcohol is absorbed into your system (and how quickly your system gets rid of it) depends on a large number of factors, including your sex, weight, metabolism, health and when you last ate. Visit the Brake website to read about the alcohol content of different drinks.

There’s no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it’s longer than many people think. As a rough guide you should allow at least one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed – but it could take longer, so you should always leave extra time to be safe. For example, if you finish drinking three pints of strong lager or one bottle of 12% ABV wine (both nine units) at 11pm, you may not be rid of alcohol until at least 9am, but it could take much longer depending on factors such as your weight.

Drug Driving

540 field impairment tests were conducted over the Christmas period (1 December 2011 and the 1 January 2012), with 16.85% of those tested were then arrested.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “It is extremely disappointing but sadly not surprising that, despite three decades of drink-drive education and enforcement, thousands of drivers were caught drinking and driving in just one month.

“Drink driving kills and maims. Provisional figures show that 250 people were killed in drink-drive accidents on Great Britain’s roads in 2010 – accounting for 14 per cent of all road fatalities. In addition, 1,230 people were seriously injured and 8,220 people were slightly injured in accidents involving someone who was over the legal alcohol limit. These casualty figures plus today’s Christmas campaign figures from ACPO illustrate the fact that we cannot ease up on the fight to keep drink drivers off our roads.

“On drug driving, we welcome the increase in the number of field impairment tests conducted. However, the number of people arrested on suspicion of drug driving compared to the number of people arrested on suspicion of drink driving shows the need for the expert panel recently announced by the Department for Transport to produce recommendations that will make it easier to detect drivers who are under the influence of illegal drugs.”

Sources: *Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)