‘One in five’ risk driving over the limit the morning after drinking alcohol

12.00 | 16 February 2016 |

A new report from Brake and Direct Line suggests that 20% of drivers may have risked driving while over the limit by getting behind the wheel the morning after a night of heavy drinking.

Fit to drive: morning after driving, based on a survey of 1,000 drivers, highlights that 5% of respondents admitted they risk driving while over the limit at least once a week.

12% of respondents said they would drive at 8am or earlier following a night of heavy drinking – and 4% said they drive ‘as soon as they need to’ after consuming a significant quantity of alcohol.

With 13% of failed breath tests following a crash occurring between 6am and noon during 2014, ‘morning after’ drink driving is increasingly being recognised as an important road safety issue.

The Morning After campaign, set up in 2006 to specifically raise awareness of the issue, says that ‘it takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to pass through the body’.

The campaign website says that on average it takes around one hour for each unit of alcohol to pass through the body, but this can vary depending on a number of factors.

Because of this, the campaign says there is ‘a real risk that people who would not dream of driving after drinking may still be unwittingly over the drink drive limit the morning after’.

Both Morning After and Brake have developed ‘calculators’ to help drivers work out roughly how long it takes for alcohol to pass through the body.

Alice Bailey, Brake’s campaign officer, said: “If you drive first thing in the morning after a night of heavy drinking it’s highly likely you’ll still be over the limit. You’ll be a danger to yourself and all other road users and at a much higher risk of crashing.

“At worst, you could lose your life or take someone else’s. Even if that’s not the case, you could still lose your licence and potentially your livelihood.

“Sleep, food, and caffeine will not sober you up, the only thing that will is time.”


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