New Year's Day drink driving

AA-Populus research shows around 7.5million may be over limit at midday New Year’s Day

AA-Populus research shows around 7.5million may be over limit at midday New Year’s Day

AA-Populus research shows around 7.5million may be over limit at midday New Year’s Day

Millions of drivers are risking being over the drink-drive limit for much of New Year’s Day, warns the AA Driving School.

Around 7.5million drivers (21%) think they will have drunk at least 10 units of alcohol by 2am on New Year’s Eve, meaning they risk still being over the limit at midday on New Year’s Day.

Some drivers (2%) said they expect to drink in excess of 20 units, putting them at risk of potentially drink driving as late as 10pm on New Year’s Day.

More than one in 10 (13%) young drivers (18-24) said they thought they would drink at least 16 units between 8pm and 2am on New Year’s Eve, putting them at risk of still being over the limit by 6pm on New Year’s Day.

Drivers in Northern Ireland were most likely to say they wouldn’t be drinking at all (28%). Drivers in London and the North East were most likely (3%) to say they expected to drink more than 20 units.

The results come from an AA-Populus poll of 21,587 drivers.

One unit per hour

Although the rate at which someone’s body will process alcohol varies greatly between individuals, as a rough guide it takes around an hour for the body to get rid of each unit of alcohol. To be on the safe side it is recommended calculating this from the time at which someone has their last drink.

The majority of drivers (56%) do not know when it is safe to drive the morning after drinking according to a separate AA-Populus survey of 21,000 drivers.

Moreover, ACPO police figures show that in 2011 more people failed breath tests between the hours of 6am and 11am than during the hour before or after midnight. This illustrates the big danger of ‘morning after’ drink drivers, which was the focus of the AA-Pernod Ricard annual drink driving Christmas campaign this year.

The dangers of drink driving are not exclusive to only those who are able to legally drink – underage passengers are also at risk.

The best advice we can give is to avoid excessive drinking if you know you need to drive the following day

Jim Kirkwood, AA Driving School Managing Director

Wider road safety issues

Jim Kirkwood, managing director of the AA Driving School, said: “As well as teaching our pupils to pass the driving test, we also try to educate them about wider road safety issues, such as drink driving, which they may face once they have passed their test.

“Knowledge about the risks of drink driving is generally fairly good, but this is not the case when it comes to the risk of drivers still being over the limit the morning after drinking.

“The best advice we can give is to avoid excessive drinking if you know you need to drive the following day.

“This is an important message for learners as well, as our instructors will refuse to allow them to have their lesson if they believe they are unfit to drive following an excessive night.

“A drinking session involving 20 units also poses other health risks, especially around roads where falling over can have fatal consequences.”

The drivers were asked:

Approximately how much alcohol do you think you are likely to consumer this year on New Year’s Eve/Hogmany between 8pm and 2am? Please take these measures as a guideline when making your choice:

  • Large 250ml glass of wine = 3 units
  • Pint of lager or bitter = 2-3 units
  • Single 25ml shot of spirit = 1 unit
  • Small 125ml glass of Champagne = 1-2 units

(30 December 2013)