One glass of wine can put women over the limit: TTC Group

12.00 | 19 December 2016 | | 7 comments

One glass of wine can put a woman over the drink-drive limit, according to a road safety organisation which runs rehabilitation courses for convicted drink drivers.

In a press release issued last week (11 Dec), the TTC Group said that a single 250ml glass of wine, as served in pubs, ‘will put women over the legal limit’.

It also warned that women would be ‘well over’ the limit if they drank the same as men because their bodies contain about 15% more fat and less water to dilute alcohol. As a consequence, they reach a higher level of breath/blood alcohol than a man of the same body weight drinking the same amounts.

TTC Group issued the warning on the back of transport secretary Chris Grayling’s comments earlier in the month, in which he said the Government would not reduce the drink-drive limit because they did not want to penalise motorists for simply having “a glass of wine at the pub”.

The 2016 THINK! festive drink-drive campaign also carries the tagline ‘a second drink before driving doubles your chance of being in a fatal collision’, rather than focusing on any dangers to drivers associated with the first alcoholic drink.

TTC Group says motorists with a blood alcohol level between 50mg and 80mg are six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, and twice likely to be involved in a traffic incident.

Alan Prosser, TTC Group director, said: “Alcohol strengths vary in different glass sizes and there are some stronger red and fortified wines. It is not so simple as to say a glass of wine is OK because it’s not.

“Our advice and that of the transport department’s own THINK! campaign is to have none for the road. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair driving judgement and ability.”

Related stories:

Survey highlights ‘growing public demand’ for lower drink-drive limit
12 Dec 2016

Lowering drink drive limit would divert police to the wrong offenders – Chris Grayling
08 Dec 2016

Fresh call made for lower drink-drive limit
10 Oct 2016



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    According to statistics supplied by the DfT. In 2014 of all deceased drivers and riders that year some 28% had a countable quantity of alcohol in their system. That is almost one third of motorists/riders killed on our roads had consumed alcohol. That’s a statistic that is correct and not subject to opinion or speculation.

    We still speculate and presume that drivers that drive off following an accident or run off when stopped by police and are not caught or who actually refuse a breath test are positive. Those do appear in stats and therefore show a greater number than actual.

    However last year just under 5000 drivers gave a positive breath test and were arrested. That is merely the tip of the iceberg.

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    There is current risk and potential risk to be considered in this. Year on year 15- 20% of fatalities on our roads are attributable to alcohol and driving. You may not consider this particularly high in numerical terms but these are entirely preventable deaths and they are certainly significant to all those involved.
    In 2014 240 people died in drink driving crashes and 8,220 were injured.

    The reduction of drink driving collisions and casualties has taken many years to achieve – so much so that most of you are too young to remember how severe an issue this was in the 1960s when Barbara Castle introduced a legal blood alcohol limit and the breathalyser. Since those pioneering acts (which were deeply unpopular at the time) there has been a cultural shift from when it was considered the norm for drivers to have “a few drinks” and another “one for the road” and then drive to nowadays when it is broadly socially unacceptable to do so (75% consider driving after 2 pints of beer to be unacceptable, DfT Think! evaluation report). The major reduction in drink related deaths and injuries is directly attributable to those changes in legislation, enforcement of the law and the accompanying and on-going programmes of public information and education.

    Cultural norms do not stay static, they evolve over time and in response to events or to a lack of events. We have a new cohort of drivers coming on to our roads each and every year, whose views on drink-drug driving cannot be taken for granted. For this reason alone, it is essential to maintain the profile, reasoning and yes, pressure to discourage people from drinking or taking drugs, or both, and then driving and to support the widely held public view that this is unacceptable behaviour. This must be backed up by a real prospect that the law will be enforced and the chance of them being caught is the deterrent.

    No-one is proposing that we change the rules to permit airline pilots, train drivers or ship’s captains to drink a couple of pints and drive their vehicles – and for very good reasons. The same reasons apply also to those driving vehicles on our roads.

    If we do not continue educating and informing people about the dangers, there is every likelihood that unattended attitudes will revert, especially amongst younger drivers and we will then see a return to the much higher casualty levels that necessitated the drink-drug driving legislation in the first place

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Thanks Saul for that link. I’ve read the abstract but it does not help with my question about an absolute numeric value of risk, merely comparative attributable risk. I remain of the opinion that there is a very low absolute risk for a sober driver and 6 times that is still a low absolute risk.

    Googling around did however lead me to a paper entitled “Grand Rapids Effects Revisited”. This is a German study I found on an Australian website that hosted the 13th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (T’95). The link to the paper is:

    Again no absolute numeric value of risk is identified, so I’m no further forward in my quest.

    However I highlight this little gem from its conclusion :-
    “Considering the incidence of DUI,(driving under influence) it was argued that effective countermeasures that substantially reduce the number of accidents attributable to the effects of alcohol should be directed towards drivers with BACs greater than 0.08%. This also implies that simply changing the legal DUI limit from 0.08% to 0.05% is insufficient with respect to alcohol-induced accidents as the potential reduction would be only about 4%.“

    Very interesting.

    Pat, Wales
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    Pat in Wales, the research on this goes back so far that familiarity with it tends to be assumed rather than quoted in every story on the topic.

    If you’re interested, reading the 1974 Grand Rapids study is the base study which forms a foundation for most of the work since. The PACTS Women and Alcohol report from 2104 highlights some of the issues with women and drink driving, including the higher likelihood that they will be over limit once annual mileage is adjusted for.

    An abstract of the Grand Rapids study can be found here:

    Saul Jeavons, Cambridgeshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    What if we turned it around and changed the law and brought drugs into line with the present acceptability of consuming alcohol before driving. Can one comprehend politicians making such comments like it would be socially acceptable before driving to snort a line or two of heroin or have a couple of spliffs. Would people, including those concerned with road safety, agree to that happening?

    I think not. However, may I remind others that alcohol is such a drug.

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    6 times what? This quote keeps coming up. I don’t condone drink driving but I don’t like ‘spin’ either. Can somebody please tell me what the sober baseline risk is so that “motorists with a blood alcohol level between 50mg and 80mg are six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash” means something. With at least 300 billion vehicle miles travelled per year in the UK and roughly 2000 deaths per year, the baseline probability of a sober person in a fatal collision could be millions to one. 6 times that would still be a relatively low risk. Some context please by the originators.

    Pat, Wales
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    When will this or any government get it right. There has been sufficient scientific evidence on the dangers of the consumption of any alcohol over the last 30 years or so and they still fail to see the significance of allowing one drink or as they say a glass of wine in a pub. How many more families and lives will they ruin and deaths be responsible for before they get the message that one is one to many. Zero tolerance on drugs but enjoy your drink….whilst you can.

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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