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How one Christmas party drink could land you with a £2,500 fine, driving ban and six months in prison


DRIVERS need to be aware of the drinking limits before indulging in a festive tipple this Christmas.

Drinking too much could land you with a £2,500 fine, a driving ban or six months in prison.

Drivers need to be careful not to go over the legal limit this Christmas

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Drivers need to be careful not to go over the legal limit this ChristmasCredit: Getty

Depending on your tipple of choice, just one drink could put you over the limit.

It comes as one study found that up to 53 per cent of people who exceeded the legal driving limit mistakenly felt they were still legally able to drive.

Research in trade publication the Harm Reduction Journal found drinkers were commonly unaware they were over the driving limit.

But police are cracking down on motorists who are driving under the influence this Christmas.

Last year, some 6,730 drivers were caught driving while over the limit.

Figures from the Department for Transport show the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in crashes related to drink-driving on UK roads soared to an eight-year high in 2019.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said; “Drinking and driving is wholly unacceptable, and those heading out to celebrate this Christmas should not be tempted to get behind the wheel after a drink.

“Our advice is simple; if you’re going to drink, don’t drive and if you’re going to drive, don’t drink.”

But many drivers are still unclear how much alcohol will put them over the limit.

How many units you can drink and still be able to drive will vary depending on a number of factors including your weight, what you’ve eaten, your stress levels, and what type of alcohol you’re drinking.

But the legal limits for drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are:

  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

While the limits for drivers in Scotland are:

  • 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
  • 22 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

Calculating alcohol units can help you monitor your intake, but again the effects will vary greatly from person to person, or even on the same person in different circumstances.

A 175ml glass of 12% ABV wine would be around 2.1 units, and a 750ml bottle around 9 units.

A pin of 4% lager is around 2.3 units and a strong 8.2% cider around 4.7 units.

One alcohol unit is measure as 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol.

If you’re caught driving while exceeding these limits, you could face major consequences.

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink could get you an unlimited fine, six months’ imprisonment, and a driving ban of at least one year.

Causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink could result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban of at least two years.

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