Drink-Driving: Here’s What You Need to Know
In the UK, whilst it’s illegal to drive when drunk, there is an allowance for the amount of alcohol that can legally be in your bloodstream while you’re operating a vehicle.
This can make the law surrounding a drink-driving offence seem complex.
We aim to help dispel any confusion around the drink-driving law in the UK with our helpful blog.
What Is the Drink-Driving Law in the UK?
In England and Wales, the law states that a driver can have no more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 107 micrograms per 100 millilitres of urine and 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.
The limit is different in Scotland, following changes introduced in 2014: there, it has been reduced to 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood and 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
But what does that mean for you? How does that account for those that can handle alcohol better than others?
Variables such as weight, age, sex, metabolism, type of alcohol consumed (eg. spirits vs wine) and even what food you’ve eaten that day can all contribute to being influenced by alcohol and subsequently impairing your ability to drive safely.
How Much Can I Drink If I’m Driving?
When it comes to drinking and driving, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re planning on having an alcoholic beverage, organise other means of transport home instead of driving.
If you are planning on having a drink before you drive, you must be fully aware of how much alcohol you are consuming. Men should consume no more than four units and women no more than three units.
In drinks equivalent, a 175ml glass of wine (13% ABV) is 2.3 units, while a half-pint of beer (3.5% ABV) is one unit. However, if the beer were a full pint and stronger than that, it could easily be 2.8 units.
What Are the Repercussions of Drink-Driving?
Whilst it can be confusing to know how much alcohol you can consume whilst driving, the law if you’re caught out is pretty straightforward.
If you’re over the limit, you can land yourself a driving ban, a fine of up to £2,500 and even a prison sentence. If you cause death or injury by careless driving whilst under the influence, the repercussions will be severe and therefore life-changing for you and anyone else involved.
How Will My Insurance Premium Be Affected?
If you have a motoring conviction from drink-driving (drink driving insurance code DR10, DR30, DR40, DR50, DR60 or DR70) you may struggle to find affordable insurance and, in some cases, it may be impossible to find cover at all.
The overall cost of your insurance is likely to increase considerably when it comes to renewing your policy, and can substantially impact the affordability of your cover.
Will Taking a Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course Reduce My Insurance Premium?
Whilst taking a drink driving rehabilitation course won’t reduce the cost of your insurance directly, it will reduce the amount of time that you’re banned from driving. As insurers take the length of a driving ban in to consideration when calculating your premium, you could find that reducing the length of your driving disqualification helps keep the cost of insurance down.
You will be eligible to enrol on a drink driving rehabilitation course if you have been banned from driving for 12 month’s or more, and the court has offered you the choice of taking a course. The course may cost up to £250.
You can find a drink driving course near you, using the Government’s search tool here.
How Can Complete Cover Group Help with Drink Driving Insurance?
At Complete Cover Group our brokers find affordable insurance for drivers that have motoring convictions, so we’re experts at helping motorists get back on the road after a drink driving conviction.