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Alcohol And Its Effects On Driving

- Understanding The Consequences Of Drink Driving
Alcohol is a huge part of today`s society and is consumed by most people during their social interactions. Studies show that nearly 60% of the population above the age of 18 consume alcohol regularly. Alcohol negatively affects a person`s coordination, vision, reaction time and decision-making skills; all of which are key components when driving. For example, if driving under the influence of alcohol, if someone were to cross the road in front of you, it would take longer than usual for your brain to process and react to this. This means you would be more likely to hit them. This is why there are legal restrictions on how much alcohol you can consume before driving any vehicle.

How Much Alcohol Can I Have Before I am `Drink Driving`?

Considering the effects of alcohol on a person`s mental and physical state, it is no coincidence that it is against the law to `drink drive`. So where is the line drawn as far as the law is concerned? This for most of us is where it is a bit foggy, you might have heard a few of the following...
  • `you`ll be alright with two!`
  • `they were just shandys that will be ok..`
  • `you have drank during a big meal, you won`t be over the limit now..`
  • or the worst one - `if you feel ok I`m sure you will be fine!`

If you are someone who says any of the above, then you are absolutely incorrect. It does not matter what type of alcohol you drink, it will still impact your driving. Whilst eating slows down the absorption of alcohol it does not prevent it and can actually lead you to drink more. In England and Wales, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine. But how on earth does the average person measure any of this? The answer is we are not supposed to, just because a person is under the legal limit it does not mean they are safe. Any amount of alcohol will affect reaction time, judgement of speed & distance and knowledge of spatial awareness. Double the legal driving limit makes you 20 times more likely to be involved in a collision on the road where you could seriously injure yourself, your passengers and pedestrians.

Death By Drink Driving.

Over the last 30 years death by drink driving has fallen, however despite the fall in fatalities and efforts to reduce the legal drink driving limit and indeed complicate the way in which we can measure it, 1 in 6 road deaths are still directly connected to drink driving. Between 15 and 40 percent of road accidents are influenced by excessive alcohol consumption with over 3000 a year being seriously injured or killed.

The Effects Drink Driving Has On Loved Ones.

It is unfortunate to say that most of us will know of someone who has been affected, injured or worse in a drink driving related accident. Speaking from my own personal experience my best friend made the decision to drink drive, without a thought of the consequences. This momentary lack of judgement led to the devastating death of a brilliant individual who should have had a long and successful life ahead of him.

James Davies died whilst driving home on the 17th of September 2011 at the age of 20. After finishing work myself and James had a couple of beers at the pub, as young adults we never considered the consequences of our actions. It is difficult to describe in words the effect this tragic event has had on James`s friends and family, both my life and theirs have been changed forever.

James was an outgoing young man who was discharged from the military following an injury, James was due to begin an art and design course at college to fulfill his hopes of going university. James was always the life of the party, his sense of humour and kindness made him loved by all. The tragic loss of James still affects the many that love him today.

I hope that by sharing this story I have encouraged you to consider the consequences of drink driving not just on yourself, but your friends and family also. It never will be worth the risk.

In loving memory of James Davies 1990-2011

The Penalties

The punishments for drink driving depend on the seriousness of the incident, penalties include fines, penalty points, a minimum driving ban of 12 months, licence revokes and imprisonment which could be anywhere between 3 months to a life sentence and of course the biggest punishment of all, loss of life by drink driving.

Would You Still Drink Drive?

Despite how you might think you feel or how short your journey is, after considering my own story and the many other stories of people affected by drink drivers, is it still worth it? Are you still going to get behind the wheel and drive under the influence of alcohol? And if that is not enough to make you think, consider the fact that you are 20 times more likely to be involved in a collision that could end one or many innocent lives, it is never worth it!

Drink Driving Devastates Lives!

Please don`t follow the many people who have made mistakes when choosing to drive after consuming alcohol. Make some small provisions to drop off the car and enjoy your drink, or just don`t drink!

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