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Drinking and Driving in the UK

Info: 1507 words (6 pages) Essay
Published: 8th Aug 2019

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Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Driving a car to work or school means reaching there early. In addition to the above, driving has huge benefit for those who live out in rural areas and want to go into town. However, driving a car while the driver is influenced an alcohol can have series consequences. Despite the benefits of driving is so big, there are disadvantages specially when driving under the influence of alcohol. there is a line between the enjoyment of alcohol and the trouble it places on society through over excess, addiction and drinking too much often leads to crime, violence and road traffic accidents.

In this essay, I am going to discuss drinking and driving in the United Kingdom specially, the law regarding this issue, the limit of alcohol allowed while driving as well the problem might cause to drive a car while drunk.

The history of drink driving law in the United Kingdom begins in 1871. In 1872, it became an offence to drive carriages, horses, cattle and steam engines with the influence of alcohol. In 1925 the law goes further by making an offence to drive any vehicle while drunk. In 1962, Road Traffic Act has come into effect while in 1965 the UK government announced the preparation of new drinking and driving law. 1981 was when introduced breath testing while in 1983 this act came into practice. In the early 90’s a new act regarding drink-driving offence was introduced and 2004 driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs increased the maximum penalty for causing death by driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs to 14 years in 2004.

Drinking while driving is more common problem facing road users these days but they are seen lower risk by drivers. Every single injury and death caused by driver who has an influence of alcohol is entirely avoidable. Although the proportion of crashes that are alcohol-related has dropped dramatically in recent years, accourding to http://www.drinkdriving.org there are still far too many such preventable accidents. Unfortunately, in spite of great progress, alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious national problem that sadly effects many victims annually.

you are an experienced driver, you are relying on hundreds of small, coordinated reactions: Checking mirrors and distance; operating acceleration and braking; compensating for differing light and weather conditions. All of these activities are taking place while moving at a far higher speed than the human body was originally intended to travel.

Most drivers who have had something to drink have low blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) and few are involved in fatal crashes. If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road crash, than a driver who hasn’t been drinking. Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. There is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit or of knowing how much an individual person can drink and still drive safely.

In the UK, two out of every five men (40%) drink more than the recommended daily limit of four units at least once week(http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Alcohol) One in six of all deaths on Britain’s roads is alcohol-related. This means that, in this country, approximately 11 people are killed each week by drunk drivers. Despite high-profile government campaigns targeting drivers, and ever harsher penalties imposed on those who drink before driving, thousands of people continue to ignore the law, putting thei lives as well as the other lives at grave risk.

can we really argued that protecting people through ignorance is no protection at all: and not knowing what the legal limit is could potentially do far more harm than good. can be beneficial for a driver’s friends and family to know just what the legal limits are, so that they can ensure he or she stays safe, and on the right side of the law.

In the UK, you must not drive under the influence of alcohol. the effects of driving while drunk are unpredictable and may result in fatal or serious road crashes. The alcohol limit for drivers in the United Kingdom is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 35mcg per 100ml of breath or 107mg per 100ml of urine.

Generally, the police in the United Kingdom does not stop the cars and ask the drivers to take Breathalyzer test (checking the amount of alcohol in your body) apart from when the police believe that the drive is breaking the law regarding the traffic.

If the police stop any person who is driving, then the police have the power to ask the driver to take Breathalyzer test. If the driver refuses to take this test or after taking the test shows there is positive result then the driver will be taken arrested and taken to the police station. After taking to the police station two further breath samples will be taken. If the driver is over the legal limit they will be charged for drink drive offence. When taken the sample if the lower of the readings is below is 35-39 micrograms, the driver will be released without any charges.. However, if it is between 40 and 50 micrograms, then the driver will be given an option as to whether they want to provide blood or urine sample(http://www.lawontheweb.co.uk/crimedrinkdriving.htm).In the UK anybody who drives a car while under the influence of alcohol not only will have a criminal record but also they will be banned from driving for a minimum of twelve months and fine of up to 5,000 UK Pound. There will also be a six month imprisonment depending how the accident is series and if there was previous disqualification. If the driver repeats such an offence only once in a ten period years period, then punishment is to ban from driving for at least three years(

In the UK All drivers who have been convicted of drink driving will encounter significantly higher car insurance prices than what they were previously paying. Some insurance companies will not even insure drivers with a drink driving conviction.


Generally drinking and driving is dangerous and having as little as one drink can alter your perception and increase the likelihood that you will be involved in a accident that could cause serious injury or death to you, your passengers or other innocent people on the road.

Alcohol consumption impairs abilities like alertness, judgment, comprehension, and quick thinking that are essential while driving. Due to the dangers related to drunk driving, it has been made illegal by the United Kingdom goverment. Various penalties are associated with this offense, and means have been devised to control this danger.

It is recommended that you do not drink and drive as this will not only seriously affect your judgment and abilities but also give you a false sense of confidence, reduce co-ordination slow down reactions, affect judgment of speed. Driving while influenced with alcohol will also reduce your driving ability, even if you are below the legal limit. This is because it takes time for the alcohol in your body. The driver who has had a drink should know that he may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening. The United Kingdom law requires that you must not drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 milliliters of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 milliliters of blood (http://www.80mg.org.uk/ddlaw.html).

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport such as using public transport.

If you are a driver, the truth is that the safest amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is zero milligrams. And if you enjoy drinking too much to resist temptation, leave your car at home. If you and your friends regularly go out for a drink then you should consider going out by using other means of transportation such public transports.


Jennifer L. Yonkoski (2008) Drinking and Driving: The Rise and Fall of a Social Problem

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069870 accessed on 21/01/10

http://www.lawontheweb.co.uk/crimedrinkdriving.htm accessed on 21/01/10

http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/focusareas/driving/ accessed on 21/01/10

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/ukpga_19880052_en_2#pt1-pb2-l1g11 accessed on 21/01/10

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/ accessed on 21/01/10


http://www.drinkdriving.org/ accessed on 21/01/10

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk accessed on 21/01/10

http://www.thesite.org/drinkanddrugs/drinking/responsibledrinking/drinkingandthelaw accessed on 21/01/10

Friends’ feedback 13/01/2010

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