Monday, 21 March 2011

drink don't drive, drive, don't drink

Today the government confirmed that it wouldn't be lowering the drink drive limits in the UK to bring them in line with Europe. Currently the legal alcohol limit is 80mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood, the proposal was to lower the limit to 50mg which is equivalent to a pint of beer.

Safety campaigners had claimed that this would save lives, however I do wonder whether someone who seemingly has no qualms about drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a car would really take much notice of a reduced alcohol limit, after all, if 50mg of alcohol is equivalent to 1 pint of beer, then 80mg would be equivalent to approximately 1.6 pints of beer, which would imply that the responsible drinkers would down their first pint and then only consume a 6th of the second one before throwing it away in order that they could safely get behind the wheel of a car.

I suppose one could argue that the second drink might only be a half pint, in which case none of the precious beer would be lost. But one could also argue that the responsible thing to do would be to not drink and drive in the first place.

Nobody needs to drink. Yes it makes for a good night out, but one beer isn't going to achieve that, so why bother at all?

Besides which, how many people really know what the limit is? A pint of beer is probably simple enough, but once you start entering into the realms of glasses of wine and shots of spirits, the issue becomes less straightforward. We all know that wine glasses differ widely in size, so to say that "a glass of wine" contains x units of alcohol can be very deceptive.

And do we really have to drink? If you're driving home you're going to be sober anyway, so that one pint of beer or one glass of wine isn't going to make a difference to your mental state. So why do it? Why not just stick to soft drinks, knowing that if you get pulled over, you won't be over the limit and won't face losing your licence?

Plenty of people do choose not to drink at all if they're driving, so there's no case of the need to do it, these things are purely down to choice. There shouldn’t be a need for a government-imposed limit to apply a simple message – if you're driving, don't drink.

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