The majority of drivers don’t know the legal threshold for drink driving, leading to concerns that motorists could get behind the wheel while over the limit this Christmas.

In a survey of 1,000 motorists who were asked what the legal limit was, the average answer was 52 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. However, the actual limit is just 35.

With most drivers overestimating how much alcohol is allowed in their system, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, which commissioned the survey, said it was concerned and called for ‘drivers to take more responsibility this festive period, plan ahead and be extra careful’.

Furthermore, about half of those who responded to the survey said they were likely to drive the morning after festive drinks, despite large amounts of alcohol taking many hours to exit their system.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Drinking and driving simply does not mix and every driver should plan to leave the keys at home rather than face a fine, lengthy ban or time in a police cell.

“Worryingly, the research also highlights that there is still real ignorance regarding how much alcohol is enough before it is illegal to drive. Although motorists may well think they know how many drinks will typically tip them over the limit, individual characteristics such as body weight, food consumption, gender and metabolism will also determine the reading.

“So, if you’re planning to drink alcohol at a Christmas celebration, do not try to calculate whether or not you are over the limit. It is always best to make it none for the road.”

IAM RoadSmart also took the opportunity to reiterate its plea to the Government to introduce longer term measures to reduce the number of motorists drink-driving. This includes a lower drink-drive limit, fast-tracked evidential roadside testing machines and tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems.

As a final note, IAM RoadSmart warned that a prosecution for drink-driving could cost you up to £70,000 and impact the rest of your life ‘through public humiliation, loss of job, family break up and a criminal record’.


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