If you have been keeping up to date with the news, drink driving has been affecting London in different ways over the last couple of weeks. Chelsea football club’s midfielder Danny Drinkwater was charged with drink driving. The twenty-nine-year-old was arrested shortly after a car crash which took place at 12:30am on Monday 8th April 2019. A police spokesman made a statement to the press that Danny Drinkwater was arrested after “a one-vehicle incident” on a country road in Hale, Greater Manchester. The midfielder was released on unconditional bail ahead of his hearing at Stockport Magistrates’ Court which is scheduled to take place on Monday 13th May. The Sun newspaper reported that Drinkwater had attended a chav-themed charity party before he crashed his Range Rover, which a source told the Sun was a “really nasty crash”.
The Sutton and Croydon Guardian also reported on Sunday 14th April that police were dealing with a car collision that killed three people after a car collided head-on with a vehicle that was driving on the wrong side of the road. This crash happened in Peterborough during the early hours of Sunday morning. Police dealing with the collision believe that the driver who caused the crash was driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Cambridgeshire Police have stated that the man drove on the wrong side of a slip road, heading to Stanground from Fletton parkway shortly after midnight. Police allege that the driver then collided with an oncoming car, “killing all three of its occupants”.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs and was also charged with causing death by dangerous driving. The suspect driver was then taken to hospital due to his critical condition. Pictures of the scene showed a crushed small silver car and a pickup type vehicle with a smashed bonnet and windscreen.
The story about Danny Drinkwater and the crash in Peterborough really do show how any person from whatever background or circumstances can be caught drink driving and suffer the consequences of it. Drink driving is triable and can result in a person being imprisoned, receiving a ban from driving and face paying a fine if found guilty. It is unclear as to how much Drinkwater and the pickup vehicle’s driver were over the legal drink driving limit, but it is possible for a defendant to be over the legal drinking limit after having half a shandy with a large meal. Many people believe that drink driving is immoral, but it can be mistakenly done by any driver. Whether it is having a small glass of wine with a meal at a restaurant or still having alcohol in your system the morning after a night out, drink driving is an offence that any driver can be guilty of.
Alcohol affects people in different ways on an obvious level, it can make a drinker feel more relaxed, it can make a drinker feel more aggressive and sometimes emotional. In other instances, one drinker can have a small glass of wine and be obviously drunk, whilst another can have seven pints of lager and not show visible effects of having alcohol in the system.
Similarly, alcohol has different effects on different people. Alcohol and how it affects an individual depend on different factors such as the weight, sex, age, metabolism, what the individual has eaten, the amount and type of alcohol that the individual has drunk, and the individual’s stress levels at the time of drinking. Alcohol has an unpredictable nature in regard to its effects on people. But the safest rule to avoid being pulled over by the police for driving whilst under the influence of drink is to not drink any alcohol if you know that you will be driving in the future.
As for those drivers who have to drive the morning after a night of drinking, the general rule is that a driver should allow one hour per unit of alcohol before they can drive again. For example, two glasses of wine may have at least six units which means that there should be at least six hours of time between the last drink and driving a vehicle. Thus, it is very important that a person is not only aware of how much they have had to drink but should also be aware of how long it will take the units of alcohol to fully pass through their body.
The UK law has definite rules as to what is over the drink-driving limit. The maximum legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for driving in England and Wales is eighty milligrams of alcohol for every one hundred millilitres of blood in a person’s body, thirty-five micrograms of alcohol for every one hundred millilitres of breath. Finally, the legal drink limit for urine is one hundred and seven milligrams of alcohol for every one hundred millilitres of urine.
It is worth remembering that recently Scotland has lowered the maximum legal BAC limit. This change of law occurred in December 2014 after the Scottish government argued that the changes they made were to save lives, make Scotland’s roads safer, but interestingly the lowering of the BAC limit was to ensure that Scotland’s limit quantities matched those in most other European countries. In Scotland, the maximum legal BAC limit is fifty milligrams of alcohol in every one hundred millilitres of blood, twenty-two micrograms in every one hundred millilitres of breath and sixty-seven milligrams in every one hundred millilitres of urine.
It is also important that if you are pulled over by the police and asked to provide a sample to test for alcohol that you do comply with the police. The consequences of you not providing a sample are much worse as this action could result in a driver getting six months of imprisonment, an unlimited dine and a ban from driving for at least one year. Therefore, no matter what the circumstance, the driver should always provide a specimen and obey all police and/or medical practitioners requests.
If you find yourself in a situation where it is unsafe for you to drive home after having an alcoholic drink, it is worth remembering that there are plenty of other safe options for getting you home. Public transport is easily accessible and is available in most areas. With public transport, you can be transported safely for a reasonable price. You can also get a taxi, Uber or other lift share services which offer to give you the convenience of a door-to-door pick up. However, these services also come at an increased price compared to public transport, especially if it is a late night pick up. But these services are worth considering rather than risking the safety of yourself and others by driving whilst over the drink limit.
If you would like more information on the newspaper articles which have been used in this blog, please look at the following weblinks:
Due to the complexity of the law and the defences behind driving whilst under the influence of drink, it is important that you seek correct and professional legal help. This offence is triable and can result in a person being imprisoned, receiving a ban from driving and face paying a fine if a defendant is found guilty of drink driving. It is easy to get caught out with drinking limits for a multitude of reasons and to feel overwhelmed by the situation. But you don’t need to feel this way and here at Driving Solicitors we can offer you the help you need. So, if you have been charged with driving whilst under the influence of drink, it is important that you get the expert legal advice that we can offer you with our specialised driving solicitors. Please do not hesitate to contact Driving Solicitors on 0203 488 2551 and get expert legal advice from a specialist motoring solicitor today.
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Written by: Miriam Rhodes-Leader