Drink driving


The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities.

In England and Wales you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

In Scotland the legal limits are lower. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 22 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will

  • give a false sense of confidence
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

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.

Check out this drug-driving film

4 thoughts on “Drink driving

  1. In 2012 there were more than 50,000 drink-drive convictions in England and Wales, and more than 7,000 in Scotland. To put this into context, there were 100,000+ convictions per year in England and Wales alone for the years 1987-1990.


  2. The best approach is not to drink any alcohol at all before driving. Many drivers find themselves on the wrong side of the law the ‘morning after’, bit realising that they’re still over the limit as a result of the previous evening’s alcohol consumption. If in doubt, don’t take the chance – your driving may still be impaired and you could cause a collision.


  3. People are affected differently by alcohol, and each person can be affected differently at different times, so it’s important not to assume that the legal limit is equivalent to a certain amount of an alcoholic drink.
    The factors that influence the extent to which alcohol affects you, and therefore your driving performance, include

    physical structure – gender, weight and metabolic rate
    food consumption – drinking on an empty stomach means that alcohol is absorbed more quickly
    illness – the dehydration that’s associated with many common illnesses increases the rate of alcohol absorption
    medication – some drugs interact with alcohol, resulting in additional effects.


  4. Be aware that you could be impaired or even still over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even the ‘morning after’.
    Sleep, coffee and cold showers won’t help you to sober up, The alcohol is still in your blood.
    Alcohol can make you feel overconfident about your driving. Make sure you fully acknowledge your impairment and ask someone else to drive.
    Agree on a designated driver before you start drinking.
    Save the number of a taxi firm to your phone so you can call for a cab if you need one.
    Find out about public transport routes and times before you go out.
    Don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol.


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