Motorists should beware ‘morning after’ drink driving

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Motorists should beware ‘morning after’ drink driving

14th December 2010

A road accidents specialist has warned Christmas party-goers to beware falling into the "morning after" drink drive trap.

Joanna Bailey, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP and spokesperson for road safety charity Brake, was speaking after research carried out by Brake and Direct Line frighteningly revealed that as many as four in ten motorists admitted to driving early in the morning after drinking heavily the night before.

"The survey showed that a shockingly low number of motorists are aware that driving the morning after a heavy night can be dangerous," said Joanna. "Even small quantities of alcohol can remain in the bloodstream for longer than expected. People need to know that they are running the risk of being caught driving over the limit or, even worse, being involved in a collision."

Joanna said that alcohol's effect on a person's ability to drive lasts substantially longer than a couple of hours. "Just because someone who has drunk quite a lot does not feel drunk, or because they may not to be able to smell drink on their breath, does not mean that they are safe to drive," she said. "They are still a danger to pedestrians and other motorists."

The survey revealed that:
- More than a third (38%) of drivers and motorcyclists admitted to driving the morning after a so-called 'heavy night'
- Nearly half (45%) of those questioned believe they would need to consume two or more units for their driving to be affected by drink
- One in seven (14%) actually think that it requires three, four or even more units to impair their ability to drive
- One in three (35%) admitted driving after drinking any amount of alcohol

Joanna, who for many years has worked with people injured in road collisions, said the results were horrifying, particularly as the timing of the survey coincided with what was expected to be the busiest week for work Christmas parties.

"It's clear that the some drivers are not getting the message, that they need to plan ahead over the festive period to avoid 'morning after' drink driving," she said. "For everyone's safety, including their own, anyone attending a Christmas party or any get-together over the festive period should ensure that they have already made arrangements to get home safely."

Brake is urging people to ensure they can get home safely from festivities by using public transport, booking a taxi or having a designated driver who doesn't drink, and staying off alcohol if they need to drive early the next day.

"No-one can say precisely how long it takes to sober up after drinking, but as a rough guide you should allow at least an hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for every single unit consumed," said Joanna. "For example, if you finish three pints of strong lager or one bottle of 12% ABV wine (both nine units) at 11pm, you may not be rid of alcohol until 9am at the earliest. Obviously many people will stop drinking later than that, so it shows just how much of a risk some drivers are taking first thing in the morning.

"It could take much longer than that, depending on other factors such as your weight and metabolism. Coffee, food and sleep don't actually sober you up any faster.

"Most importantly," she said, "people should remember to be responsible and stay off the booze if they are planning on driving home after a party or early the next morning."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to road traffic accidents. If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more at - Sky News