A rehabilitation expert has revealed when it’s safe for drivers to take to the road after drinking on New Year’s Eve – and it turns out that it’s better to wait until the 2nd of January.
Rehab provider Abbeycare says: “Even if you wake up feeling fine on New Year’s Day after drinking the night before, you may still be over the legal limit to drive without realising.
“This is because there’s no way to know whether your body has processed all of the alcohol you’ve consumed the night before, as this differs from person to person depending on weight, height, gender, food eaten, metabolism, and the type of alcohol consumed.
“And it’s not just alcohol consumption that can affect your ability to drive the next day, as research suggests that driving tired can be as dangerous as drink-driving, as it results in slower reaction times. If you’re planning to celebrate this New Year’s, it’s better to use public transport to get home or wait until the 2nd of January to drive back.”
The legal alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for driving is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, while in Scotland, it’s 22 micrograms. This equates to around two pints for men (lager of 4.5% or one medium glass of wine for women (175ml).
It takes around one hour to process one unit of alcohol, on average – meaning that a can of lager with an ABV of 5.5% – equivalent to 2.4 units – will take just under two and a half hours.
And some cities are more prone to reckless behaviour than others, new data has found – with London named the city most likely to drive while under the influence.
The findings, from rehab provider Abbeycare, analysed the latest drink drive collisions and casualties reported by the Department for Transport to name the most at-risk parts of the UK – which also reveals when they are most likely to occur – and among which age groups.
The alcohol-related road collisions reported by each local authority were scaled against the local population, to calculate the drink-driving risk per 100k residents.
The City of London is the most affected by drunk drivers each year, with an annual average of 36 alcohol-induced collisions per 100k residents – which is a huge 500% higher than the national average rate of 6 crashes.
Following behind London as the second-most affected city is Doncaster, with 9.2 drink-driving accidents reported per 100k residents each year. While this is an impressive three-quarters fewer than London (74%), it’s still 35% above the national average rate.
Rounding out the top three biggest problem areas is Peterborough, also with 9.2 drink-driving collisions per 100k people, while Leicester placed fourth (9.1 collisions), and Portsmouth made up the five most-affected cities (8.8 alcohol-induced crashes).
On the other end of the scale, the city with the lowest crash rate – and therefore some of the most responsible drivers – is Aberdeen in Scotland, as it reports just 2.1 drink-related collisions per 100k residents – which is 65% below the national average rate.
Also among the least-affected UK cities were Edinburgh (2.2 drink-driving crashes per 100k), Dundee (2.6 drink-driving crashes) and Glasgow (3.4 crashes).
As well as looking at which months carry an increased risk of drink-driving deaths, the DfT data also reveals the time of day when an incident is most likely – with 11 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. named the riskiest time in the UK, with an average of 18 fatal crashes reported each year.
The data also shows the most at-risk demographics, and it turns out that drivers aged under 20 are almost two-thirds (65%) more likely to be involved in a drink-driving accident than any other age group – while those aged 60 and over are least likely to drive under the influence.
Speaking on the data, Abbeycare said: “It’s never a good idea to drive after having a drink, even if you feel you’d still be capable of doing so. With the festive season in full swing, there’ll likely be an increased number of drivers making unsafe decisions due to poor public transport options, impaired decision-making, or peer pressure.
“Younger drivers may be particularly susceptible to making a poor choice as they’ve not yet seen many consequences to their actions in comparison to their older peers – but it’s absolutely crucial to arrange an alternative way to get home when drinking so that you don’t have to learn these consequences first-hand.”