A lot of us like a drink, so it’s useful to know not only what only you’re legally allowed to drink before driving, but how much it’s sensible to drink before driving (and there is a difference!).
The legal alcohol limits for driving in England and Wales are as follows:
- 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
- 80 milligrammes in 100 millilitres of blood
- 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine
There are different limits in Scotland, Northern Ireland and elsewhere in Europe.
The amount that you may drink and remain below the legal limit depends on a range of factors that can affect the rate at which your body processes and eliminates alcohol. These factors may include your body size and whether you have eaten food.
It’s more important to understand how much you can drink and be safe and fit to drive.
Think about the following:
Even a small amount of alcohol may affect your judgement and concentration. You may be unsafe to drive, even if you are below the legal limit. In these circumstances, not only are you (and your passengers) at risk but you may still be arrested by police if deemed to be impaired.
Alcohol may remain in your body for several hours, including overnight. Be cautious about driving the following day and consider alternative forms of transport if you are in any doubt.
The effects of alcohol may be increased if you are tired or unwell. If you are taking a prescribed medicine, follow the guidance on the packaging and speak to your GP or chemist if you have any doubts. Not realising won’t be an acceptable excuse to the police!
You can be stopped by a police officer for any reason, and breathalysed if they suspect that you’ve been drinking. The breathalyser will provide the officer with an indication that you may be over the legal limit and result in your arrest. If that happens, you’ll be taken to a custody suite and required to provide evidential samples of breath, blood or urine. If found to be over the legal limit, you face a possible driving ban, a fine of up to £5000 and potentially six months imprisonment.
The penalties are more severe if the offence is aggravated by a crash involving serious injury or a road death.
Drinking at home? Remember, there’s no ‘closing time’ so there’s a risk of having one too many which may have implications for you the next day.. Also, drinks tend to be larger measures so those two glasses of wine may be more like 3-4 glasses.
When all’s said and done, alcohol and driving is never a good combination. The only safe limit is zero.
The RAC has some great, in-depth drink driving information available if you want to know more. www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/legal/drink-drive-limits-everything-you-need-to-know/