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Since 5th December 2014 the legal limit has been reduced from 80 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood. This change caught out 5 people within hours of its implementation. Don’t be one of them. If you are caught not only do you face a 12 month ban, a £5,000 fine, and potential imprisonment, but you could cause someone else serious injury or death. 500 people per year are injured as a result of drunk drivers, and 20 of them are killed. This change may help to reduce those figures by shifting public attitudes. Even a small amount of alcohol affects the time taken for the brain to process information. Slow reaction times cause accidents.

There is no exact science about how much is safe to drink. It depends on your weight, metabolism, age, stress levels, and a variety of other factors. The message is don’t drink anything if you are driving that day. This is easy and is the practice followed by most people anyway. The danger is driving the next day. The danger is driving somewhere for New Year’s Dinner after a big night out on Hogmanay. You are still over the limit well after your bacon roll kicks in and your hangover subsides. Be careful! Don’t start your new year at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Don’t spend the rest of your life dealing with the guilt of causing an accident.

Unfortunately, there is no exact science about when it is safe to drive the next day. The change will mean that you will need to wait a few more hours before driving the next day.  Three pints will take until about lunchtime to clear your system. Add a few spirits to that and you are over the limit until after dinner time. You can reduce the risk by stopping drinking before midnight, drinking low strength drinks, alternating alcoholic drinks with water, and eating something at the end of the night. There are calculators available to give an indication. BAC Calculator. You could purchase a DIY breath test. However, if you have consumed more than 3-4 units, the only safe option is to ditch the car keys entirely the next day.  

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