The majority of motorists are unaware of the amount of alcohol that will tip them over the limit. Meanwhile, half admit they are prepared to drive the morning after festive drinks or their Christmas party.

IAM RoadSmart surveyed over 1,000 motorists. The results reveal that 50% confessed they were likely to get behind the wheel the next morning following festive drinks. The revelation comes despite the fact that it takes many hours for large amounts of alcohol to leave the blood stream.

More worrying, and perhaps a contributing reason for the morning after drink driving, is the ignorance over drink drive limits. Respondents were asked how many micrograms of alcohol are permitted in 100 millilitres of breath. The average answer supplied was 52. The legal limit is in fact only 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

How many parties?

IAM RoadSmart believe these results a major cause for concern. With the Christmas party season now in full swing, the potential for raised danger on the roads is high. With official Christmas parties being cancelled, less formal drinking could actually lead to more drink driving.  Driver are less prepared to leave the car behind or to accept that they may be over the legal limit. The charity is calling for drivers to “take more responsibility this festive period, plan ahead and be extra careful”.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “Drinking and driving simply does not mix and every driver should plan to leave the keys at home rather than face a fine, lengthy ban or time in a police cell.

Greig is “worried” by the findings, and the apparent levels of “real ignorance”. Simple calculations are risky, especially when you need to take body weight, food consumption, gender and metabolism into account. All will affect an individuals ability to process alcohol.

“Do not try to calculate whether or not you are over the limit. It is always best to make it none for the road.”

Time to sober up

The charity has also reiterated its plea to the government to roll out a smarter package of longer-term measures. Official data shows that the number of breathalyser tests is at its lowest for over a decade. At the same time, positive results are at there highest. IAM RoadSmart is calling for a lower drink-drive limit to reinforce good behaviour. It also wants to see fast-tracking of evidential roadside testing machines to release police resources. But also they would like to see tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems – many drink drivers are repeat offenders.

“A prosecution for drink driving this month will not only ruin your Christmas but also impact the rest of your life,” says Neil.

“Public humiliation, loss of job, family break up and a criminal record. At IAM RoadSmart we estimate that last drink that takes you over the limit could cost you up to £70,000! If that isn’t a sobering thought then nothing is.”