Drink driving – Is it worth ruining your life?
Despite the efforts made by private activist groups and government agencies, intoxicated driving is still a leading cause of the fatal motor vehicle accidents in our roads today. The long-term consequences caused by such accidents can include mental disabilities, chronic pain, physical disabilities, comas, and loss of limb among others. In the year 2013, two hundred and twenty (220) to two hundred and sixty (260) people died in UK in accidents and at least one driver had exceeded the drink-drive limit. The estimate number of deaths was two hundred and forty 240.
It is important that you understand the effects that alcohol has on your functioning. Nonetheless, the more information we have on a particular subject, the more we consider it too obvious therefore; we violate the federal and state traffic, which is bad idea.
Drinking and Overall Body Functioning
Alcohol intoxication has many effects on the mental and physical functioning of the body. These effects depend so much on the amount of alcohol consumed. These effects are divided into different stages depending on the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Below we will look at the different stages of BAC, which a person experiences as they continue to drink.
- BAC of .03 – .12 (For an adult, these are approximately one to four drinks) – Impaired motor skills, decreased inhibitions that may result to illegal or dangerous behaviors, and reduced attention span.
- BAC of .09 – .25 (For an adult, these are approximately four to eight drinks) – Impaired short-term memory, dulled senses, loss of coordination and balance. There is an increased reaction times to any changes in the environment, delayed cognitive functioning (this is the difficulty to make sound decisions or understand things), and impaired vision.
- BAC of .18 – .30 (For an adult, these are approximately six to twelve drinks) – Lack of control over behavior or emotions, sleepiness, slurred speech, increased vision impairment, increased loss of coordination and balance, dizziness. One experiences further loss of cognitive functioning to the extent that they may not be in a position to understand what is happening around them.
- BAC of .25 – .4 (For an adult, these are approximately seven to sixteen drinks) – Nausea, vomiting, difficulty with any type of bodily movement, and lack of response to any external stimuli. One could also alternate between consciousness and unconsciousness.
Beyond these phases, if one continues to drink they could die or become comatose. On the other hand, you may have realized a significant overlap between the different levels of Blood Alcohol Content or the number or number of drinks. Typically, this is because the intoxication affects people differently, depending their weight, age, tolerance of the drug, gender, what you have eaten recently, metabolism, stress levels, amount and type of alcohol consumed. You can hardly predict what effect alcohol has on any individual, which is the reason why it is imperative to be cautious when consuming it.
Putting all the side effects we listed above into consideration, then you will understand why driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. If you are to drive, it is best that you remain sober since even small amounts of alcohol can cause adverse side effects, which increase the chances of causing an accident. Thus, don’t drink and drive.
How alcohol could affect driving
Most of the body functions, which we rely on to drive safely, are affected when we ingest alcohol into the system. These functions include:
- It is quite difficult for the brain to process information.
- It takes long for the brain to receive messages sent from the eyes.
- Slower reaction times because of delayed instructions to the body muscles.
- Double and/or blurred vision, which affects one’s ability to see clearly when driving
Drink-driving penalties in UK
In the UK, anyone caught over the legal alcohol limit which is eighty (80) milligrammes of alcohol in one hundred (100) millilitres of blood, thirty-five (35) microgrammes per one hundred (100) millilitres of breath, or one hundred and seven (107) milligrammes per one hundred (100) millilitres of urine.
Exceeding these limits could lead to imprisonment, one could be banned from driving, and you could face a fine in case you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. The actual penalty depends highly on your offence, and the magistrates who hear your case. You may reduce your interdiction by taking a DDRS (drink-drive rehabilitation scheme) course especially if you are banned from driving for one year or more. It is up to the court.
- If you are in-charge of a vehicle, while unfit through drink above the legal limit you get a three months imprisonment, a possible ban to drive, and a fine of up to £2,500.
- Attempting to drive or driving while unfit through drink or above the legal limit you are. If you are convicted twice in ten years, you are banned to drive for three years.
- If you refuse to provide a urine, blood or breath specimen for analysis then you will be banned to drive for at least a year, imprisoned for six months, or get an unlimited fine.
- If you cause death for careless driving under the influence of alcohol you may get fourteen years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a sanction from driving for 2 years or more. One can also have an extended driving test before your license is given back to them.
High-risk Offenders Scheme
If you are a high-risk offender, your driving license will not be given back to you automatically after the ban period ends. You only get your license back if you pass the medical examination performed on you. You are a high-risk offender in case you:
- Are convicted twice for drunk-driving offences in a period of ten years
- Refused to provide a sample of urine, breath, or blood to the police for alcohol test.
- Refused to allow the sample to be tested if it was taken when you were unconscious.
- Exceed the legal limit. In this case the alcohol reading is at least two hundred (200) milligrammes of alcohol in one hundred (100) millilitres of blood, or 267.5 milligrammes in 100 millilitres of urine, and 87.5 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
Other problems that you could face if you are convicted for drunk driving also mean that;
- Your vehicle insurance cost could increase significantly.
- If you drive to work, your employer will see the conviction on your driving license
- You may encounter a lot of trouble travelling to other countries such as the USA
How to ensure that you do not drink alcohol and drive
In conclusion, we understand how bad it is to drink and drink in UK especially if you exceed the legal limits. Therefore, any time you go drinking as a group, arrange within the group who the designated driver will be. The designated driver should always be the person who abstains from alcohol all night. Take advantage of the public transport such as buses, trains, and taxis among others if you live in a place where there are good public transport links. If you do not have another option but to drive, then don’t drink and drive, just stick to mock-tails, zero alcohol beers, or standard soft drinks. If you have to drive the next morning, be sure you are capable of doing so.
Please Note: The above is for education and awareness only. Please consult the official authorities in your country or town for the laws and limits of drink driving.