St Patrick's Day Drinking – The Morning After The Night Before


Many people this St Patrick's Day will be planning to spend the day celebrating with family and friends. Perhaps you've been drinking all day, and not given a second thought to driving to work the next day? You could still be over the limit – what now?

What Can I Do?

Medical Adviser for Drinkaware, Dr Paul Wallace, comments; "The amount of alcohol in your bloodstream depends on two things. The amount you take in, over what period of time and the speed at which your body gets rid of it."

Importantly he adds, "having a cup of coffee or a cold shower won't do anything at all to get rid of the alcohol."

Julie Robertson, our Partner and Head of Motoring Offences comments; "It may be easy to have a few drinks on St Patrick's Day and not even consider whether you will be safe to drive the next morning."

Julie advises; "If you have been drinking the night before and think that there is even a possibility you could be over the limit, it is important that you find another way of travelling to work. Driving a car whilst you may still be over the limit is very dangerous. It can have devastating consequences for you, your passengers, and other road users."

A Hangover Coupled With A Conviction

It is important to remember that all day drinking can leave you with more than a hangover the next morning if you decide to drive. Being caught drink driving carries the possibility of facing a fine, a driving ban, or even imprisonment.

With St Patrick's Day this year falling on a Tuesday, it will be Wednesday morning that motorists may be driving over the limit. Figures released by the Department for Transport Statistics show that in 2013, on each Wednesday at 8am, an average of 9 people either failed a breath test or refused to provide one. This contrasts with lower figures later on in the day, with 5 people being caught at 12pm.

The figures also show that in 2013, 260 people were killed in drink driving accidents in the UK. Despite this, a study by road safety charity Brake shows that in 5 road users still continue to drive the morning after drinking.

Stricter Rules?

Recent changes in Scotland to the legal alcohol driving limit could influence change for the rest of the UK.

Scotland previously had the same limit as the rest of the UK, at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml. This has now been reduced to 50mg for every 100ml. This means that if you were to have four pints of beer the night before, you could still be over the limit the next morning. This lower limit falls in line with many other countries, with England being one of few in Europe to still have the higher limit.

Fire and Rescue Authorities have highlighted that dropping the current alcohol limit could save up to 170 lives each year, and save millions of pounds of public money.

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