The Department for Transport has recently drawn upon some alarming statistics to illustrate the dangers of driving the morning the after. According to the government department, in the region of 5,500 motorists fail morning breath tests each year, the majority being the result of moderate to heavy drinking the night before.
Among the details released by the Department for Transport was information relating to cases involving drink driving in 2013, which showed that 740 accidents took place the morning after an evening of alcohol consumption.
Meanwhile, research by Think!, a campaign that is run by the Department for Transport to raise awareness of road safety and of the hazards of drug and drink driving, indicated that a third of drivers were oblivious to the fact that driving the morning after drinking just four pints of beer (or four glasses of wine) could result in a failed breath test.
Severe drink driving penalties
They also found, disturbingly, that well over a half of drivers would knowingly drive under those circumstances, despite understanding that they could be over the limit. This in spite of the fact that drink driving penalties are by no means to be taken lightly, with convictions often resulting in serious consequences, such as a 12-month drink driving ban, a criminal record, or even a 6-month prison term.
How long does it take to break down alcohol in the body?
On average, it takes the body 1 hour to break down 1 unit of alcohol. On the basis that 1 pint of lager may contain 3 units of alcohol (as may 1 large glass of wine), that's 12 units that the body will have to break down having consumed 4 pints of lager (or 4 large glasses of wine) – leaving more than enough alcohol in the system to still be over the limit even 8 to 10 hours later.
It is notable but of little surprise then, that in these Department for Transport statistics for 2014 , the number of failed breath tests throughout the year in Great Britain between the hours of 6am and 11am show a sharp rise on Saturdays and Sundays, and, to a lesser degree, on Mondays, also.