Know your limits

A survey by Auto Trader discovered that nearly eight million motorists ‘only slightly over the limit’ will choose to get behind the wheel this Christmas.

With the DVLA showing over 40 million full driving licences registered in the UK, eight million drivers getting in the driving seat whilst being over the limit is a worrying stat. And it’s no wonder that December is the month most UK drivers believe is the most dangerous, with 65% saying they felt more at risk of drink drivers in this month compared to the rest of the year.

Whilst 87% of those surveyed said they wouldn’t be more likely to drink and drive during the festive season, a quarter (25%) have climbed into the passenger seat knowing the driver has had more than the legal limit.

Confusion over the safe number of units is the main reason why so many motorists are driving under the influence. In the Auto Trader survey, 39% of drivers surveyed believe that one unit is still below the legal limit, whereas 32% thought two units was safe, and a further seven per cent thought three units would still be fine if stopped and asked to take a breathalyzer test. Shockingly, four per cent of motorists surveyed admitted to driving after consuming four or more alcoholic drinks, which can severely impair their driving, making them a very high-risk for accidents and even fatalities.

The advice and penalties for drink driving are clear, yet motorists surveyed still felt it was something they can chance. Reasons for considering drink driving varied from a low risk of being caught (30%), the units system being too complicated to understand (31%), to nearly a third (32%) saying they weren’t sure if they were over the limit or not. Nearly a fifth (19%) were happy to get into the driving seat despite being ‘only slightly over the limit’, which can still be met with severe repercussions if caught by the police.

The repercussions for being caught over the limit also seem to have drivers confused, with views on the punishments for drink driving varying from receiving a ‘few’ points, to serving up to six months in prison. The survey found that only two fifths (38%) of drivers knew the correct punishment enforced for drink driving offences.