Guide to alcohol limits before driving

Don’t drink and drive. It’s as simple as that. We’ve all seen the TV adverts and posters, and we’re all aware of what can happen if we get behind the wheel when intoxicated. Not only is there a much higher chance of being involved in an accident and seriously injuring ourselves and others, but if caught, we could be banned from driving and even sent to prison.
Some people will risk a drink or two and take to the road because they don’t feel ‘drunk.’ But the message from authorities is this: don’t even risk one drink, as one drink still impacts your ability to drive and therefore safety on the road.
If you’ve been caught drink driving in the past, then you might have been disqualified from getting behind the wheel. What you’ve probably found is that it can be very difficult to find affordable car insurance – but maybe not if you choose the Insurance Factory.
We specialise in convicted driver insurance that takes into account your individual circumstances. We understand that the past is the past, and are committed to getting you back in the driver’s seat with as little hassle as possible. We don’t judge; we just work to find you the best policy to suit your needs, situation and budget.
If you feel like you need a refresh on the rules around alcohol limits, you’re bound to find this guide useful.

Alcohol limits

As the Gov.UK website stresses, there are strict alcohol limits for drivers in the UK. The limits are different in Scotland than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here’s a table shared on the website:
Level of alcohol England, Wales and Northern Ireland Scotland
Microgrammes per 100ml of breath 35 22
Microgrammes per 100ml of blood 80 50
Microgrammes per 100ml of urine 107 67
The most important thing to bear in mind is that it’s impossible to say for certain how many drinks these limits equate to. It will be different for each person, and the way alcohol affects you depends on a range of factors like:
  • Your age, weight, sex and metabolism
  • The amount and type of alcohol consumed
  • What food you’ve recently eaten
  • Your stress levels
This means that it may be possible for just one drink to push you over the limit. This is another reason not to risk even one drink before getting behind the wheel.

Penalties for drink-drinking

Another page on the Gov.UK website explains that drivers could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine if they’re found guilty of driving while under the influence. If you’re caught, then the penalty will be decided by the magistrate’s court responsible for dealing with your case.
If you’re banned from driving for a year or more, you could cut the length of your driving ban with a drink-drive rehabilitation scheme (DDRS) course.
Here are the types of penalties you could face if you’re caught drink driving:
Offence: In charge of vehicle while above the limit/unfit through drink
You could face:

  • Three months’ imprisonment
  • Fine of up to £2,500
  • Potential driving ban
Offence: Driving/attempting to drive while above the limit/unfit through drink
You could face:
  • Six months’ imprisonment
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban for at least 12 months (three years if convicted twice in 10 years)
Offence: Refusing to provide a breath, blood or urine sample for analysis
You could face:
  • Six months’ imprisonment
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban for at least 12 months
Offence: Causing death through careless driving while under the influence
You could face:
  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • Unlimited fine
  • A driving ban lasting at least two years
  • Extended driving test before your driving licence is returned
As well as these penalties, losing your driving licence could make it difficult to travel to countries such as the USA. It could also cause complications if you drive as part of your job, particularly if you receive a driving ban.

Tips to make sure you don’t drink and drive

Sometimes you might feel tempted to drive after a couple if you don’t think that you can feel any effects, or if it’s cold, wet and dark outside, but it’s really not worth it. Drink driving could negatively impact your life in numerous ways.
Drink Aware has shared some useful tips to make sure you don’t drink and drive. These include:
  • Utilise public transport. Leaving your car on the driveway will remove the temptation to get behind the wheel after a couple of drinks. If you’re planning on staying out later than the last bus or train, make sure you’ve got some taxi numbers saved on your phone.
  • If you regularly head out with the same group of friends, consider taking it in turns to be the designated driver. This is someone who abstains from booze for the night and acts as a taxi service for everyone else, making sure you get home safely (and legally).
  • Remember: you don’t have to have alcohol to have fun! If you have no choice but to drive but want to feel like you’re joining in, why not try alcohol-free beer or mocktails? They taste great, you won’t be breaking any laws, and you’ll remember the night the next day!
  • Not all nights out have to involve booze. Rather than a trip to a bar or pub, why not catch the latest film at the cinema, play mini-golf or go bowling?
  • Remember you can still be over the limit the morning after, especially if you’ve drunk a lot of units and/or didn’t have much sleep. If in doubt, don’t drive!

Convicted driver insurance with the Insurance Factory

The Insurance Factory has over 20 years of experience arranging convicted driver insurance for motorists. We consider a range of offences including:
  • Driving/attempting to drive with a blood-alcohol level exceeding legal limits
  • Driving without insurance
  • Driving in a dangerous manner
  • Driving at a dangerous speed
  • Reckless driving
Get a quote today!