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Four hundred drivers last year were caught out by being over the drink drive limit the morning after a night out, warns the AA.
Whilst some drivers take a chance by driving home after a night out when they are over the limit, others are inadvertently caught out when they think they are safe the morning after.
The AA warns that no matter what the intention, if a driver is over the limit, they will be prosecuted if caught. To raise awareness of the issue, the AA will distribute free self-test breathalysers to motorists who take out AA membership during the weeks ahead**.
This year the police are targeting people who are still over the legal limit the morning after the night before. 280 people lost their lives in the UK during 2011 as a direct result of drink or drug driving, despite the well-documented dangers associated with getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs.
The AA advocates that the best advice is: If you are going to drive, don’t drink. If you are going to drink, don’t drive.
Previous research amongst the AA/Populus panel* of 11,388 drivers found that one third (34%) felt they could often be over the limit the morning after and almost one half (46%) thought they might occasionally be over the limit the following day.
Drivers uncertain of whether they may still have alcohol in their system the following morning can conduct a simple test with a self-test breathalysers.
In France a law was introduced recently requiring drivers to carry a self-test breathalyser*** in the car. As a result the AA has been offering these to drivers crossing the channel.
The AA does not advise drivers to use these immediately before driving because if a driver is in doubt they should not be driving. Self testing immediately after drinking can be dangerous as alcohol levels don’t peak until 40 minutes to an hour after drinking.
The AA self test breathalysers are calibrated to the French limit of 50 mg per 100 ml of blood, while the UK limit is 80 mg.
Drivers joining the AA over the holiday period will be offered a free self-test breathalysers** which can be used if traveling to France or could be used to check for the presence of alcohol the morning after.
However, the AA advice remains that if a driver is in doubt about being under the influence of alcohol they should not drive.
We don’t want the morning after to end in a mourning disaster so are advising drivers to think carefully before driving after a night out
Edmund King, AA president
Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said: “Too many drivers are caught out by being over the limit the morning after the night before. We don’t want the morning after to end in mourning disaster so are advising drivers to think carefully before driving after a night out.
“It is difficult to work out whether there is still alcohol in the system the following day. One unit of alcohol takes about one hour to get out of the system. However this is not a precise science as it depends on size, gender, whether you have eaten, state of your liver, metabolism and even mood. There is also confusion over units of alcohol due to varying strengths of beers and wines and different sizes of glasses.
“If drivers are unsure the following day the self-test breathalysers should give an indication of whether alcohol is still present. However, our advice remains, if in doubt, don’t drive.”
(28 December 2012)
* Populus polled 11,388 AA members online in October 2008
The question was: “If you are driving the morning after an evening/night of drinking alcohol do you ever consider the possibility that you might be over the drink drive limit
** While stocks last
You can purchase a French approved self-test breathalyser in the AA Shop
*** To meet the French requirement, breathlaysers must be marked NF (French Government approved)