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Drink and drug driving - The facts

Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect your driving in numerous ways.

Breath testing
Drink driving:

The legal alcohol limit in the UK for driving is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood OR 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

However, there is no failsafe guide as to how much you can drink and stay under the limit, since it can depend on other factors such as your weight, age, metabolism and the amount of food you have eaten.

The only safe option is to avoid alcohol altogether when driving. Alcohol affects everyone very different and any amount can impair your ability to drive. The only safe option is to avoid alcohol completely if you're driving as even 'just one drink' could put you over the limit. Why risk it?

For more information on drink driving, visit the Think! Drink Driving website:

Drug driving:

It is an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood. This includes illegal and medical drugs. The limits set for each drug is different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low, but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (e.g. from passive smoking).

Officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs - including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin - at the police station. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.

For more information on drug driving, visit the Think! Drug Driving website:

Some drink and drug driving facts:

  • Alcohol affects your ability to drive safely as your reaction times are impaired and you are unable to judge speed and distances.
  • It is impossible to try and get alcohol out of your system quickly, it always takes time. A shower, a cup of coffee or other ways of 'sobering up' will not work.
  • If you have been out drinking, you may still be affected by alcohol the next day and could lose your licence if you drive and are still over the legal limit.
  • Illegal substances and even some over-the-counter drugs can impair your driving in numerous ways, including:
    • Slower reaction times
    • Poor concentration
    • Erratic behaviour
    • Nausea
    • Hallucinations
    • Aggression
    • Panic attacks and paranoia
    • Tremors
    • Dizziness
  • You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about whether your prescription / over-the-counter medication will affect your driving ability.