Would you enable a drunk driver? Would you drive drunk?
I am guessing that most of us would say no to these questions, but when Confused.com set out to test this theory, even they were surprised at the results. They hired an actor who pretended to be falling down drunk, and had him ask for assistance to get into his car. An astounding two thirds of the 50 people approached were happy to do this.
This was a small sample size, but it does give one an impression of the attitude towards drunk drivers. It would be interesting to see similar experiments with actors of different ages and appearance – would a grotty looking youth in a hoody have been treated differently than the smartly dressed businessman? I suspect so.
It ties in well, this experiment, with something that has been going through my mind this weekend.
I was at a Xmas party on Friday afternoon. We started celebrating after work at 2pm, with the meal being served an hour later. I had intended drinking just a glass of wine with my meal, but reconsidered and decided to take the bus home. I wasn’t drinking heavily – no slurring of my words, or staggering, no silly fits of giggles or inappropriate behaviour – and for a split second I thought about driving home.
It was raining heavily, I knew I would get soaked getting to the bus stop, and the nearest taxi rank was some distance away. I found myself counting up how much wine I had imbibed. Already I was justifying my decision in my head.
Thankfully, I came to my senses and gave myself a stern talking to. I was shocked that I had even considered driving – something that I have never done before. I was definitely over the legal limit.
According to Confused.com:
In the UK, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of urine. Despite this guidance, there is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit because alcohol affects each individual differently.
This is a handy tool to find out where your personal limit lies –
Cost calculator by Confused.com.
There is no way to estimate how sober one is, and it is incredibly stupid to try this, or to use excuses such as, ‘I can handle my drink… I have had a lot to eat… I haven’t had that many… I only drank a couple of small glasses with my meal…’.
There is always an increase in publicity about this issue in the run up to the festive season, for good reason.
In 2011 almost 300 people died and 1300 were seriously injured in drink driving incidents. The ‘good news’ is that the number of deaths is falling, due to campaigns such as the Confused.com one – but still 80,000 people are caught drink driving yearly.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) is calling for the limit to be lowered from 80mg to 50mg, stating evidence that drivers with a blood alcohol level of between 50mg and 80mg are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a accident, and up to 6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
According to Brake, the road safety charity,
Many more drink-drive crashes are caused by drivers who only have small amounts of alcohol in their blood. A further estimated 65 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit, but who have a significant amount of alcohol in their blood
Did you know that? I didn’t.
I walked to the taxi rank on Friday night, and yes I was absolutely sodden when I got there. Which in comparison to what might have happened, if I had driven home, seems totally ridiculous and trivial.
Get a cab. Take a bus. Don’t drink and drive.