Coronavirus Lockdown Could Lead To More Drink-Driving

British motorists are being warned about drink-driving as the coronavirus lockdown causes a spike in the number of people home drinking…

Drink-Driving Warning

The number of people home drinking has doubled since the nation went into lockdown; with a whopping 100 million pints of beer being consumed each week. It’s raised fears that more people could be driving over the limit. This is especially problematic given that millions of us, early in the morning, are flocking to shops and supermarkets in order to stock up on necessities. This leaves the door open to drivers driving over the limit without realising it, as alcohol remains in their systems long after their drinking session has ended. A number of studies have shown that even small amounts of alcohol can significantly increase reaction times and impact performance behind the wheel; even when the affected person is under the drink-driving limit.

Around 20% of drink-drive convictions actually follow drivers being caught in the morning. In addition, a third of all breath tests are conducted between 7am and 1pm. The Department for Transport has also released figures that show alcohol-related driving fatalities have jumped by 25% in the last two years alone.

Staying In The System

Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense, has warned drivers about the risks of being over the limit when they wake up in the morning. He said, “if you consume three pints of beer or three large glasses of wine before retiring at 11pm, you’re unlikely to be totally clear of alcohol when driving to the supermarket for 7am”. He added, “even if you’re just at the English/Welsh legal drink-drive limit, research shows you are 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober. The only way to be sure that alcohol has completely cleared your system is to use a personal breathalyser. The impact of COVID-19 is worrying enough without the added stress of being banned from driving, or involved in a car crash”.

In England and Wales, the driving limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. In Scotland, it’s lower at 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath or 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. There have been an increasing amount of campaigners calling for Scotland’s reduced limit being applied to the entirety of the UK. As it stands, penalties for driving over the limit include unlimited fines, driving bans and prison sentences ranging from three months to 14 years depending on the severity of the offence. It’s clear, then, why drivers should never risk driving over the limit for their sake and that of other road-users.

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