The drink drive limit in the UK is a bit higher than in many other European countries. It is also very strictly enforced.
The alcohol limits for UK drivers is:
- 35 microgrammes alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – assessed using a breathalyzer
- 80 milligrammes alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – tested through a blood screening (normally used to confirm the breathalyzer test)
- 107 milligrammes alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine – evaluated using a urine test (a second option used in confirming the breathalyzer test)
The penalty for any driver exceeding the alcohol limit includes a driving ban for a minimum period of 12 months and a maximum fine of £ 5,000. This may also include a maximum prison term of 6 months.
Such penalties may be even more severe based on other complications such as refusal to give breath, urine or blood specimen for analysis or causing death through careless driving while being intoxicated. Moreover, there are other consequences to drink driving, which include paying higher insurance premiums.
What Quantity Of Alcohol Would Not Exceed The UK Drink Drive Limit?
It is not easy to determine the exact quantity of alcohol to take in order to avoid being penalized for drunk driving. The main reason being that alcohol absorption in the body varies from one person to another. It may also vary depending on different physical conditions of the body. Some factors that affect processing of alcohol within the body include:
- body weight
- body metabolism
- gender (generally, men process alcohol at a higher rate as compared to women)
- your stress levels
- age (younger people have slower rate of processing alcohol as compared to more mature adults)
- drinking on a full or empty stomach
The issue of excessive blood-alcohol levels is not just restricted to the night after heavy drinking, but also extends to the morning after. Research carried out by Brake, a road safety charity, uncovered the worrying situation whereby more than 50% of young drivers and approximately a third of older motorists take the risk of driving the morning after a night of heavy drinking.
Following a night of heavy drinking, many people would possibly still have excessive blood-alcohol levels in the morning. This is because the rate of elimination of alcohol from the blood requires approximately one hour for one unit of alcohol (one unit is equivalent to 10 ml pure alcohol). This rate varies from one person to the other and also depends on other physical conditions.
The Effects Of Alcohol On Driving
In order to fully appreciate the reasoning behind the laws on drink driving, you need to know how alcohol affects your capacity to drive competently. Some of the effects of alcohol include:
- reduced eye-hand co-ordination, as well as slow reaction times
- difficulty in processing information
- reduced judgment of distance or speed
- taking unnecessary risks due to reduced inhibition
- impaired driving ability
- poor eyesight due to blurred vision
Approximately, 16% of the recurring road deaths within Britain are related to drink driving. Due to such a worrying statistic, it’s not surprising that the government enforces a strict UK drink drive limit.
All these aspects put the driver at great risk of causing accidents.
Generally, you are much safer completely avoiding alcohol while driving, because even a small amount may affect your driving ability.
Please visit the home page for our alcohol consumption calculator to roughly work out how many drinks you can have before you can drive, although beware everyone is different so its best to not drink at all.