Nearly 10,000 people were killed or injured by drink-drive incidents in 2011, according to The Department For Transport. These included 280 deaths which represented a rise of 30 compared to the previous year. There were also 1,290 serious injuries which was an increase of 40 in relation to 2010. Furthermore, based on Government figures AlcoSense – a breathalyser producer – has concluded the number of “morning after” incidents has increased by 60% over the past ten years. As such, the company has revealed that the Police catch more offenders between 6am and 11am than between 11pm and 1am. Why? Because it takes more time than some motorists assume for alcohol to pass through their systems. Some, therefore, remain above the drink-drive limit hours after they stop drinking.
The legal limit in the United Kingdom is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. This can be assessed via hand-held breathalysers. The entry-level AlcoSense ONE, for starters, retails for £24.99. This phone-sized device records its findings to one decimal place and has been recommended by Dr. Chris Steele on ITV's This Morning. The mid-specification AlcoSense Lite also has a self cleaning programme that extends its life and a “don't drive” alert which springs into action when motorists are close to, or above, the drink-drive limit. All for £39.99. Finally, the top-of-the-range AlcoSense Elite purges its sensor after tests to increase reliability, has an airflow sensor for more accurate results, and records to two decimal places. It has also been recommended by What Car? as the “Best Buy” in the £40 to £100 category. This potential lifesaver therefore retails for £59.99.
Motorists cannot be sure how much alcohol is in their systems without breathalysers. The Institute of Advanced Motorists – one of the UK's leading road safety charities – therefore urges drivers not to try to “calculate” it. There are, after all, numerous variables that make this extremely challenging – particularly for those slightly worse for wear. Factors such as gender, weight, health and how much motorists have eaten can play their parts. Those with any doubts should clearly book taxis, use public transport, or arrange to be picked-up.
The consequences of exceeding the limit can be severe – even when nobody is killed or injured. As such intoxicated motorists in charge of vehicles face up to three months imprisonment, £2,500 fines, and driving bans. This offence relates to those in or around vehicles with the intention of driving. In contrast, motorists who drive or attempt to drive can receive up to six months imprisonment, £5,000 fines, and twelve month bans. This increases to three years for those convicted twice within a decade. Most seriously, those who cause death by dangerous driving could receive fourteen year sentences, unlimited fines, and two year bans. Finally, drivers who fail to provide breath samples as requested can receive six month prison sentences, £5,000 fines, and one year bans. Fancy a Coke?
By Stephen Turvil
Mon, 14 Jan 2013