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Drink driving

It can be tempting to drive home after ‘just one’ drink, but the reality is that any amount of alcohol can affect your judgement or ability to drive safely. You could also still be over the limit driving to work the morning after.

By drinking and driving you risk your life, those of your passengers and others on the road. Make the right choice and plan your journey home before you start drinking,  designate a driver to stay sober on a night out, or arrange a taxi.

Driving while over the limit can result in a large fine and a driving ban, but that’s only if your drive is incident-free.

People are injured and killed and families devastated as a result of drink driving – it is not worth the risk.


Beware the morning after – you could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it's the 'morning after'. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don't help to sober you up – time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system.

There is no excuse for drink driving – "I can handle my drink." Alcohol affects everybody's driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop.

"I'm only going down the road." A large proportion of all drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.

If you're planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving – options include agreeing on a designated driver, saving a taxi number to your phone, or finding out about public transport routes and times before you go out.

Don't offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive – even if you're not driving, you can help reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year by drink driving.

Don't accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol - explain to them the dangers and that it is illegal and arrange alternative transport home.

The consequences

There are strict penalties if you are convicted of drink driving, including:

  • a minimum 12 month driving ban
  • a criminal record
  • a hefty fine (of up to £5,000)
  • up to six months in prison
  • un endorsement on your licence for 11 years

However, this list does not reflect the everyday consequences of being caught drink driving which can include:

  • increase in car insurance costs
  • job loss
  • trouble getting in to countries like the USA
  • the shame of having a criminal record
  • loss of independence

The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 - £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job. 

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