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When can you drive after drinking the night before? New tool tells you when it is safe


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Driving the day after drinking the night before – When is it safe?

As the festive celebrations get firmly underway, there is an increased risk of drivers getting behind the wheel after having had one too many. 

According to new research, December is the worst month for drink driving.

Last year, a whopping 57,255 motorists failed breathalyser tests in the UK and of these drivers 5,136 were caught drink-driving.  

This accounted for almost a tenth (nine per cent) of total offences recorded, according to new Freedom of Information data obtained by Confused.com.

It is not just drink-driving on the night that drivers have to worry about though. 

Almost a third (32 per cent) of drivers are caught over the legal

More than a quarter of people caught drink-driving occurred between the hours of 5am and 11am, revealing the risk many drivers are unwittingly taking the next day. 

On December 1st, the National Police Chiefs Council announced its annual crackdown on drink-driving offences. 

Police forces across the country will be vigilant in clamping down on possible offenders. 

Annual drinking offences are down in the UK with 34,101 recorded incidents to November. 

Worryingly, however, many drivers still don’t seem to know when they are over the limit. 

More than one in 10 (11 per cent) of motorists don’t know how many units are in their drink of choice, and a further one in 10 don’t actually know the legal UK drink-drive limit.


But it’s evident that alcohol can still be in your system after a few hours’ kip

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com


Confused.com has created the online ‘morning after calculator’ which will help drivers find pout how much alcohol is left in their system after a night of drinking and how long they have to wait before it is out of their system. 

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Many drivers look forward to a drink at Christmas time and the majority wait at least overnight before getting behind the wheel.  

“But it’s evident that alcohol can still be in your system after a few hours’ kip.

“Knowing how many drivers fall into this trap, particularly at this time of year, Confused.com has created a morning-after calculator that gives an idea as to how much alcohol is still in your system, and how long it typically takes to leave your body.

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Police forces across the UK have announced a clampdown on offences

“Drink driving is a dangerous and punishable offence, which can seriously impact the safety of our roads and put other road users at risk. 

“Not only this, but it can land drivers with a fine, or even a driving ban, which can have a negative impact on their car insurance premiums. 

“To avoid getting caught out, we suggest drivers stop drinking early if they know they have to get behind the wheel in the morning, but the best advice would be to avoid drinking alcohol at all.”

As a rough guide, the NHS suggest that one unit is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol.

They are roughly:

2.1 units in a standard glass (175ml) of average-strength wine (12%)

3 units in a large glass (250ml) of average-strength wine (12%)

2 units in a pint of low-strength lager, beer or cider (3.6%)

3 units in a pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5.2%)

1 unit in a single measure of spirits (25ml)

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December is the worst month for drink driving

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the drink drive limit is as follows:

-Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath: 35

-Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood: 80

-Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine: 107

According to the DVLA the way alcohol affects you depends on:

– your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)

– the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking

– what you’ve eaten recently

– your stress levels at the time

Punishments for drink driving are as follows: 

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

– 3 months’ imprisonment

– up to £2,500 fine

– a possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

– 6 months’ imprisonment

– an unlimited fine

– a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years) 

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

You may get:

– 6 months’ imprisonment

– an unlimited fine

– a ban from driving for at least 1 year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

You may get:

– 14 years’ imprisonment

– an unlimited fine

– a ban from driving for at least 2 years

– an extended driving test before your licence is returned

You won’t automatically get your licence back if you’re a high risk offender. 

Other punishments you could face:

A conviction for drink-driving also means:

– your car insurance costs will increase significantly

– if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on yo



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