Man putting down beer and picking up car keys
Drink drive limits vary greatly - don't get caught out!


WITH the long summer evenings and temperatures on the rise it’s all too tempting to stay behind after work to enjoy a drink with colleagues.

After all, there’s nothing nicer than having a pint or a glasses of wine in the garden of the nearest pub or wine bar to the office and chatting about the day’s highs and lows.

But as the evening wears on the temptation to have a second or third can become too much for some – but it’s a temptation you may well regret the next day.

You may think you can handle it but if you are involved in an accident, even it wasn’t your fault, the chances are you will be breathalysed – and then your problems will start.

SME business car managers have already been warned that the younger company car drivers are the most likely to drink and drive after a campaign showed that almost twice as many under 25s gave a positive breath test or refused or failed to take a test compared to those over 25.

And if you are caught after too many drinks it could have a drastic effect on your life.

So what is the law on drink driving?

You could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine if you’re found guilty of drink driving.

The actual penalty you get is up to the magistrates who hear your case, and depends on your offence.

You may be able to reduce your ban by taking a drink-drive rehabilitation scheme (DDRS) course if you’re banned from driving for 12 months or more. It’s up to the court to offer this.

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If you are caught being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink you may get:

  • three months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban

If you are stopped while driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink you may get:

  • six months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least one year (three years if convicted twice in 10 years)

If you have a really serious accident after drink driving and face the offence of causing death by dangerous driving when under the influence of drink the penalties become really severe. You may get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least two years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

If you are a “high risk offender” – for example have two drink-driving offences within two years or were significantly over the limit – your driving licence won’t be returned automatically at the end of a driving ban. You’ll have to pass a medical examination before it’s returned to you.

And when it’s all over you will still face ongoing consequences.

If you’re employed as a driver, for example, or you were drink driving in a company car, or the incident occurred during your hours of employment, your employer will probably have grounds to dismiss you.

Either way your car insurance will increase dramatically and you may well also have trouble travelling to countries like the USA.

So no matter how tempting it is to get behind the wheel after a drink DON’T.

It’s always best to remember that old adage “think before you drink before you drive”.

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