Many popular misconceptions exist around the effects of alcohol on the body, despite regular campaigns to educate people on the consequences of drinking and driving. This lack of awareness poses a real danger to your business, your staff and other road users, so our fleet compliance and risk management partner Applied Driving Techniques has outlined and challenged some of the most common myths to help you stay safe.
I WOULD NEVER DRIVE AFTER DRINKING
Perhaps this is true directly after a day or evening of drinking, yet many drivers still regularly drink and drive the morning after. In fact, almost one in five of the 65,000 people convicted of drink driving each year were on the way to work the next day. A significant proportion of these felt fine to drive and were shocked to be found guilty of something they honestly believed they would never do.
YOU HAVE TO DRINK LOADS TO BE OVER THE NEXT DAY
Four pints or three glasses of wine the previous night could still be there the next morning, so this is simply not true. The risk increases the later someone starts drink and the earlier they get on the road, which means extended licensing hours have exacerbated the situation in recent years with an upturn in “morning after” convictions.
YOU HAVE TO BE OVER THE LIMIT TO BE CONVICTED
This is no longer the case, because you can now be convicted of being “impaired through drink or drugs”. The UK limit of 80mg per 100ml of blood is high in comparison with those in other European countries (including Scotland) where the maximum concentration is 50mg per 100ml. Research has suggested that almost 70 per cent of drivers are significantly impaired below the UK limit, and if caught and convicted, these people face a year’s driving ban.
EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW LONG IT TAKES TO CLEAR ALCOHOL FROM THE BODY
Really? Are you really willing to take the risk, because there are many factors that actually influence the time it takes? Consider this, a person meets up with friends to enjoy a meal at 9pm. They have a pint of lager to start (or perhaps a gin and tonic), followed by three glasses of wine with their food and rounding of the evening with a brandy. When will the person be alcohol free and therefore fit to drive? Is it 5am, 8am or midday the next day? Applied Driving Techniques has various training options to help drivers understand the risks they face.
PEOPLE WHO GET CONVICTED FOR DRINKING AND DRIVING MUST BE HEAVY DRINKERS
Simply not so, as recent research shows. A project was conducted to monitor 1,000 drinking weeks of convicted drink drivers and found that the average weekly consumption was actually only 36 units of alcohol. With the recommended amount for an adult male equating to 28 units, this figure is only little more than a unit per day over this level.
IT IS ONLY A PROBLEM AT CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
The festive period is certainly a time when most people associate with higher levels of drinking and driving, but this does not mean it is okay to ignore the rest of the year. In fact, June is the peak time for drink driving convictions, businesses really need to take action all year round. Again, extended licensing hours have contributed to a worsening situation.
If you need more help understanding your management obligations, or simply want to protect your drivers, yourself and your business, contact us here at CompleteCare
Piece written by Dr Jim Golby, PhD Chartered Fellow CIPD
Director, Research & Customer Experience (UK and Europe) at Applied Driving Techniques