With the busiest night for Christmas parties taking place this evening (Friday 18 Dec), new research from THINK! highlights the risks of driving the morning after a big night out.
THINK! says an estimated 740 reported drink drive accidents took place in the morning during 2013, and around 5,500 people fail breath tests between 6am and midday every year.
On average it takes around one hour for the body to break down one unit of alcohol, meaning it could take as long as 12 hours for the alcohol from four pints of higher strength beer (or four large glasses of wine) to leave your system.
THINK! interviewed almost 800 drivers and found that 58% of those surveyed would have four or more drinks on a night out, and still sometimes take a risk by driving the following morning – with only a third (33%) aware they could still be over the limit.
33% of those surveyed mistakenly believe that drinking water will make them safer to drive, along with sleeping (28%) and eating a large meal (21%).
Even though a drink driving conviction can lead to loss of a job, the most common reason for getting behind the wheel after a heavy night of drinking was to get to work (37%).
Andrew Jones, road safety minister, said: “Getting behind the wheel after a big night out is a risk that drivers just should not take. Not only are they putting themselves in danger, they also endanger others and their actions can destroy lives.
“The safest way to make sure that your Christmas celebrations this year don’t end badly is to wait until you are sober before you think about driving.”
Suzette Davenport, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing, said: “The majority of drivers are aware that driving whilst impaired by drink or drugs is not worth the risk, but some do not think about how they will get home or to work the morning after a night out.
“Thinking ahead about getting home or to work safely the following morning is crucial and potentially if you are driving the morning after drinking you may need alternative travel arrangements.
“Driving under the influence is never worth the risk to yourself, to your future and to those you could injure or kill.”