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Drinking and Driving: Drinking Responsibly this Christmas

There is no questioning that Christmas is the one time of year we all love to indulge in food and drink. Alcohol plays a particularly big role during the Christmas period with Boxing Day and New Years Eve being traditionally popular for at least a few adult beverages.

Christmas and New Year is also the second highest time of the year for drink driving arrests with far too many people getting behind the wheel after a drink. Some put this down to ignorance, some to a lack of awareness and others suggest our legal limit is too high so people feel they are under when they are far over. 

At Cox Motor Parts we want you to have a very enjoyable but safe Christmas, so here is all of the most important facts and figures to consider before you step behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

The Law

The limit in England and Wales is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine. This is the second highest in the EU (behind Malta), with the rest of Europe having a limit of 50 milligrams, which the limit in Scotland.

What does that actually mean?

These figures and measurements mean very little to us, so it is hard to understand how much would push you over the limit. This is complicated further because how much alcohol affects you can depend on your height, weight, metabolism, age, stress levels and whether you’ve recently eaten.

What this all means is it’s very difficult to tell, because someone who drinks one pint of beer might be found to be over the limit, whereas another could have two and stay under. Instead of having one and assuming it will be fine, it is recommended to stay away from the booze entirely if you plan on driving.

How alcohol affects driving

Alcohol affects three main functions of the brain which can seriously affect your driving ability:

  • It takes longer for the brain to receive information from the eyes.
  • Processing information takes longer
  • Instructions to your muscles and reaction times are delayed.


If you are stopped by the police and found to be over the limit you be banned from driving for at least 12 months and will receive a fine of anywhere up to £5,000. Being caught can also mean you receiving between 3 and 11 points on your licence. You can even receive a prison sentence of up to six months. All of these punishments are affected by the severity of the offence. If you are caught drink driving again within 10 years of the original offence you can be banned for at least three years.

The Dangers

According to Drink Aware, drink driving is responsible for 16% of road deaths in Britain. Even more alarming is that over the last few years deaths caused by drink driving have been on the rise. In 2012 290 people died in drink driving related accidents.

Drink driving ruins lives and the danger should not be taken lightly. Even if you are lucky enough be caught by the police, the affects losing your licence could have on your profession and your family could be challenging. If you are heading out this festive season please consider every possible travel option available to you before opting to drive, and if that is the only option, stay away from the alcohol all together.

If you are struggling and need help, Rehab 4 Addiction is a free helpline run by people who’ve beaten drug and alcohol rehab themselves.


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