• Richa Shetty

Drink Drive Limit U.K. (United Kingdom). How many Units of Alcohol is Allowed?

Drink-driving is to blame for thousands of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads every year. As Christmas festivities get underway, here's all the information you need about UK laws on drinking and driving. In England and Wales, the limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine. In Scotland, the limit is lower at 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 22 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, or 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine. Explore more about the Future of Insurance Telematics in the UK?

Also, Read What is Reckless Driving? Is it a Criminal Offense? (Simplified)

How many Alcohol units are Allowed?

The amount of alcohol you need to drink to be considered above the driving limit varies from person to person, and is influenced by the following:

- your weight, age, sex, and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)

- the type and amount of alcohol you are drinking

- what you have eaten recently

- your stress levels at the time


One unit measures 10ml, or 8g of pure alcohol, and takes the average adult around one hour to process before there is none left in their bloodstream. Alcohol can impair many of the functions that are essential for driving safely. One pint of strong lager or a large glass of wine can contain more than three units of alcohol. Also, Read about California Driving Laws (Drivers Must Read Quick-Book)

How does Alcohol Affect Driving?

Alcohol can impair many of the functions that are essential for driving safely, with a warning it can cause:

- the brain to take longer to receive messages from the eye

- the processing of information to become more difficult

- instructions to the body's muscles to be delayed, resulting in slower reaction times

- blurred and double vision, impairing your ability to see things clearly while driving.

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How Long does it Take for Alcohol to Leave your System?

How long alcohol takes to leave your system is influenced by a number of factors.

The way alcohol affects you depends on:

• Your weight, age, sex, and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)

• The type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking

• What you’ve eaten recently

• Your stress levels at the time

Alcohol is generally removed from the bloodstream at an average rate of one unit per hour, although this will vary from person to person. A person's size and gender will influence the speed of this process, with men typically processing alcohol quicker than women. If you know you are going to be driving the following day, it is advised to:

- opt for lower strength drinks - 4% ABV or lower beer; 12% ABV or lower wine and small measures (125ml); single spirit measures rather than doubles

- alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water

- stop drinking alcohol before the end of the night so your body has time to process the alcohol before the following morning. Read more about Ford gets $640M Government Loan Guarantee to Protect UK Engine Exports

How would I be tested for Drink driving?

If the police want to investigate whether you are over the drink-drive limit, they will carry out a screening breath test at the roadside. To do this, they will use a breathalyzer.

If you fail this test, or if they have other grounds to believe that your driving was impaired through drink, you’ll be taken to a police station and given a final breath test. At the station, you will need to provide two more breath specimens into a complex breathalyzer.

The lower of the two readings is used to decide whether you are above the drink driving limit. Also Read about Hitachi UK: Hitachi builds ‘Intelligent Decarbonization Solutions' for Fleet

The police can carry out a breathalyzer test if you have committed a moving traffic offense (such as banned turns or going through a red light) been involved in an accident, or have given the police grounds to believe you are over the limit. The police are allowed to stop any vehicle at their discretion, and will often set up drink driving checkpoints over periods such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Must read Oxford outlines its Plan to become UK’s first Zero- Vehicle Emission City

What is the Penalty for Drink Driving?

There are a number of penalties you could be faced with for drink driving, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Being caught above the legal alcohol limit while driving can land you with a £2,500 fine and three months imprisonment, as well as a possible driving ban.

Other penalties include:

  • Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink can result in six months imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban for at least one year (or three years if convicted twice in 10 years)

  • Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood, or urine for analysis can result in six months imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a ban from driving for at least one year

  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink can result in 14 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, a ban from driving for at least two years, and an extended driving test before your license is returned

  • A conviction for drink driving would also cause your car insurance costs to increase significantly, and if you drive for work, your employer will see the conviction on your licence. Read about UK: New Insurance Rules Established for the Repair of ADAS-equipped Vehicles

Contact us for a quick demo or 14-day trial to know more about Driver management system UK and how we can help in connecting your assets in real-time to the internet in UK. Visit our FAQ page for some frequently asked questions on fleet management.

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