Road Safety News

Charity calls for zero tolerance to drink driving this Christmas

Thursday 15th December 2011

Brake, the road safety charity, is urging everyone, and in particular young people, to take a zero tolerance approach to drink driving this Christmas.

The call follows a survey by Brake and Direct Line, which found that 29% of young drivers are willing to drive after drinking alcohol, compared with 44% in a similar survey in 2007. While this might indicate that the drink drive message is getting through to young people, the survey also showed that 53% risk driving while over the limit the day after a heavy night of drinking, up from 45% four years ago. Brake suggests that this indicates ‘widespread complacency about how long alcohol stays in your system’.

The survey also found that while 62% of drivers understand that even one unit can affect driving, 12% believe they can consume three or more units and still drive safety.

Julie Townsend, Brake campaigns director, said: “Christmas is a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate. But for some of the families Brake supports, it’s a sad time when they remember loved ones who have been killed in crashes caused by drink-drivers, in many cases young, inexperienced drivers who didn’t think through the consequences.

“Their deaths were preventable, and we all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent further drink drive deaths and injuries. We can do that by pledging to never drink a drop of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking, and to speak up about drink driving to friends and family this Christmas. Making this commitment could save your life, or the lives of loved ones.”

For more information contact Brake on 01484 559909.


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The simple answer is yes…..the liver can only process alcohol at a rate of approximately 1 unit per hour regardless of any other factors. Alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream and is not affected by other factors to sober up (coffee, fry up, cold showers, sleep etc) ....these only reduce the effects of dehydration caused by the alcohol as it is a diuretic. As a depressant, alcohol also depresses the central nervous system (CNS) which affects a person’s ability to judge their own driving capabilities and after rest, an individual may think they feel sober and be therefore lulled into a false sense of security that they are ok to drive.
Lisa Scott. Halton

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The figures suggest the possibility that when people face the choice of drink or drive in the evening, many are choosing to drink perhaps being unaware they may be over the limit the next morning.

Is the effect of alcohol just after consumption the same as after 7 hours sleep (where both are at the same level at the point of testing)?
Dave Finney - Slough

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