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The UK’s leading independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, commissioned a survey that asked 1,004 motorists about the maximum number of alcohol units they would have at a party or event, and still drive home. Shockingly, over four in ten (41 percent) of respondents stated that they would drink anywhere between one to ten units of alcohol, and still get behind the wheel.
The charity’s calculations also showed that drivers can lose as much as £70,000 by choosing to drink drive from loss of income, fines, and additional transport costs.
Of the people who said they would drink and drive nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said that they would drink 1-3 units.
Nearly one in three (30 percent) admitted that they would drink 4-6 units, and alarmingly, seven percent (29 people) declared that they would have 7-10 units, with six of these people saying they may even drink in excess of this.
The survey also discovered that the probability of drinking and driving varies around the country.
Londoners were most likely to drive after consuming alcohol, with a staggering eight in ten (77 percent) residents of the capital saying that they would drink alcohol and then drive.
Of the Londoners who admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol half (52 percent) said they would drink anywhere between 4-6 units of alcohol and over one in ten (12 percent) confessed that they would consume 7-9 units of alcohol.
Worryingly, both of these amounts are over the legal drink-drive limit, which is measured by breath-alcohol level through a breathalyser test.
This typically stands at approximately three units for women and four units for men but also depends on a range of factors such as body weight, levels of hydration and whether the motorist has recently eaten.
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Ranking second-worst on the drink-drive standings were residents of East Anglia, with over half (53 percent) of drivers from this region saying that they would drive after drinking alcohol.
Meanwhile, East Midlanders and those from the North East of England were next on the drink-drive “naughty list”, with 46 percent and 45 percent of motorists from these regions respectively declaring that they would drive while intoxicated from alcohol.
Interestingly, it was residents of Scotland, who benefit from more stringent drink-drive laws, who were found to be the least likely to drink-drive, with only one in four drivers (26 percent) north of the border saying that they would drive while under the influence of alcohol.
Furthermore, Northern Irish and Welsh motorists both ranked in the top four best-behaved regions when it came to drink-driving, with 67 percent and 62 percent of drivers from these countries respectively revealing that they would not drink alcohol before driving.
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IAM RoadSmart’s findings come in the wake of The Department for Transport’s (DfT) latest statistics which revealed that in 2020 there were 180 drink-drive fatalities in England, 10 in Scotland, and 10 in Wales.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “Our research has laid bare just how many motorists in the UK still feel it is acceptable to drive after taking a drink.
“While of course, it is not illegal to drive after drinking alcohol, as long as you are under the legal limit, even small amounts of alcohol can have a profoundly negative impact on your driving ability.
“This is why IAM RoadSmart will always recommend ‘none for the road’.
“The issue will only be placed further under the spotlight as Christmas party season comes into full swing, and the World Cup progresses – meaning many partygoers and football fans alike may be tempted to drink more than they usually would.
“The fact is that drinking and driving simply do not mix, not only because it is incredibly dangerous to the safety of the driver and other road users, but it also has serious financial ramifications.
“In fact, according to our calculations, having that drink that takes you over the limit could cost you up to £70,000 from loss of income, fines, and additional transport costs. If that’s not a sobering thought, I do not know what is.”
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