Half of UK drivers would fail their driving test if they were to take it again today, reveals an online quiz.

An online quiz by Halfords has revealed that over half of British drivers would fail their driving test if they had to take it again today.

The quiz is made up of ten simple questions that all drivers should know without hesitation. Yet surprisingly, most drivers are getting the answers wrong!

The question which seems to be causing the greatest confusion so far is: “What is the blood alcohol (drink drive) limit for drivers in England in Wales?”. A shocking 69% of the people who have responded so far did not know what the drink drive limit was.

Here is a flavour of some of the other multiple choice questions:

  • You’re driving along a dual carriageway in a car; the speed limit is not stated but there are street lights lining the road. What is the speed limit?
  • When checking the engine oil level, at what temperature should your engine be? And
  • When on the motorway, which lane should you use for driving when the road ahead is clear?

To put your driving knowledge and maintenance skills to the test and find out whether you’re roadworthy, take the quiz by clicking here.

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Free legal advice for drink driving and drug driving offences involving blood and urine from Ashworth Motoring Law

How to work out if you’re over the limit the morning after

Defend drink driving offences

We are forever advising people not to drive if they feel they might be over the limit the next morning. Whilst that is certainly good advice, it has significant limitations – how do you know if you’re over the limit the next morning or not?

Firstly, we need to disclaim that there is no certain way to know. Sorry! However there are a few principles which can be applied to give you a round-about idea of how long you need to wait.

The system:

  1. Calculate the number of units that you have consumed in total during the relevant period. Each unit represents one hour that you need to wait (Whilst this article focuses on ‘the morning after’, the principles remain the same for daytime drinking.)
  2. Add one further hour (to accommodate the time taken for the alcohol to enter your blood stream).

Alcohol units:

Of course this system would not work unless you knew the unit value of the drinks you have consumed. Here are the unit values of the most common drinks:

  • One standard glass (175ml) of average strength wine (12%) – 2.1 units
  • One large glass (250ml) of average strength wine (12%) – 3 units
  • One pint of low strength lager, beer or cider (3.6%) – 2 units
  • One pint of higher strength lager, beer, or cider (5.2%) – 3 units
  • One single measure of spirits (25ml) – 1 unit

It’s important to remember to look at the percentage value of the alcohol consumed as the units above may need to be adjusted accordingly. For example, a large glass of 13% wine would be 3.5 units.

How does this look in practice?

So, in theory, if you drink 3 large 250ml glasses of average strength (12%) wine representing 3 units per glass, and finish drinking at midnight, you should wait until at least 10am the following day before driving.  This is a much greater delay than most of us realise!

Apps for calculating how long to stay off the road

There are now many websites which offer ‘online calculators’ to assist drivers in working out when they might, in theory, be fit to drive.

Here are a couple of them:

Brake – morning after calculator

Morning-after.org calculator

Disclaimer

The above system for calculating how long you should wait after drinking before driving is based on an average liver breaking down alcohol at a rate of one unit per hour. However this rate can be affected by a number of different factors such as:

  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Medication

Whilst there are many valid defences available to most drink driving offences, miscalculation, or indeed reliance on any method of calculating the time taken for alcohol to leave your system would be no defence.  If you are in any doubt over whether to drive after consuming alcohol, even if the consumption ended many hours ago, the best advice is not to drive at all.

What happens if you are convicted of drink driving

A person who is caught drink driving, even where they only marginally over the limit the morning after faces a minimum period of 12 months disqualification from driving and a fine of up to £5000. In the most serious cases, a person can be sent to prison for up to 6 months.

Article written by Expert Motoring Lawyer and Managing Director at Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth.

Ashworth Motoring Law Ltd are specialists in defending drink driving offences. If you need advice or representation regarding any motoring offence, call our 24/7 local rate motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk.

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Transport Minister hints at a lower drink drive limit

In December 2014, the Scottish drink drive limit was slashed from 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood to 30mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Yesterday, 09 February 2016 Transport Minister Andrew Jones hinted that the government might consider lowering the drink drive limit in England and Wales, depending on the experience in Scotland, reflecting on when their drink drive limit was reduced over a year ago.

Mr  Jones said:

“I am intending to discuss with the Scottish minister the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and the timescales to get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact,”

“It is important to base our decisions on evidence and the Scottish experience will be crucial to that before we consider any possible changes to limits in England and Wales. This government’s current position, however, remains to focus resources on enforcing against the most serious offenders.”

How is it working in Scotland?

The latest figures show that since the drink drive limit was lowered in Scotland, the number of drink driving offences fell by 12.5% in the following 9 months. It is believed that a large contributing factor to this reduction is a change in behaviour, with most motorists opting to avoid alcohol altogether if they need to drive. I would of course agree that the easiest way to ensure that you are under the drink drive limit is to follow the ‘none for the road’ strategy.  However a lower limit raises potential issues ‘the morning after’; placing motorists at an increased risk of driving with too much alcohol in their system.

Drunk on the commute to work?

The President of the AA, Edmund King said

“With a lower limit, drivers will also have to be aware of being over the limit the morning after. Our research shows that almost 20 per cent of drivers have driven the morning after when they believed they could be over the limit.”

Even at the current levels, I regularly represent drivers who are accused of drink driving after unwittingly driving to work following the consumption of alcohol the night before. If the limit is  lowered by a third, there could be an even larger number of otherwise law abiding motorists brought before the Court and criminalised for what is considered a serious offence.

The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to work out exactly when you would be safe to drive. The strength and amount of alcohol consumed are fundamental factors, but this is complicated by the fact that everybody metabolises alcohol at a different rate depending on individual characteristics, such as height, weight and build,

What would a drink driving conviction mean?

A person who is convicted of drink driving can expect to receive an automatic disqualification from driving for at least 12 months, a fine of up to £5000 and possibly even community service or a prison sentence.

Drink driving is a serious offence which can have long lasting consequences. Although there are many defences available to this charge, the simplest solution would be to avoid having alcohol in your system at the time of driving in the first place, regardless of the level of the drink driving limit.  For more information about drink driving, visit the dedicated drink driving section of our website.

 

Article written by Expert Motoring Law Solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law Ltd, Alison Ashworth.

Ashworth Motoring Law are specialists in drink driving defences and our expert motoring law solicitors have outstanding success rates when representing motorists for drink driving offences. If you would like to speak to a specialist drink driving solicitor about your case, call our local rate motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 for a free assessment of your case.  Lines are open round the clock so get in touch whenever’s best for you.