Every winter, personal injury solicitors see a spike in the number of people claiming compensation for injuries sustained in drink drive accidents. The festive season encourages people to drink more than they normally would and puts them at pressure to perform certain tasks that may require driving, and every year inevitably sees road accidents around Christmas that were caused by drunk drivers.
A recent AA-Populus poll asked 21,000 drivers that if they started drinking at 21:00, drank for three hours and consumed a total of 12 units over this time, at what time would they be under the limit? Overall, 56% either admitted that they did not know or chose a time at which they would likely still be incapable of lawfully driving, with 11% of respondents aged 25 to 24 thinking that they would be legally allowed to drive at 09:00 the following day.
It takes around one hour for a unit of alcohol to leave a person’s system, but this depends on a range of factors, including gender, size, whether or not the drinker has eaten and their individual metabolism.
With personal injury claims involving drink drivers a real concern over the Christmas period, it is worrying that figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers reveals that the number of ‘morning after’ drink drivers between 06:00 and 11:00 failing breathalysers is higher than the number of drivers failing breathalysers during the period between 23:00 and midnight, or midnight and 01:00.
People who need to drive in the morning must think carefully before drinking in the evening, and a particularly heavy drinking session may leave people incapable of legally driving for the entirety of the following day.
Wine and spirit firm Pernod Ricard UK and the AA have collaborated to launch their fourth festive drink-drive awareness campaign, which is calling on people to accept responsibility and not to make excuses about why it might be acceptable to drive while potentially over the limit.
Drink drive personal injuries
According to data from the Department for Transport, there were a total of 220 drink drive accidents that resulted in the death of a person in the Great Britain over 2011, with these leading to a total of 240 deaths. Furthermore, there were approximately 1,200 personal injuries sustained by Brits in drink drive accidents over 2012, with these figures 5% lower than those in 2011.
Provisional data for 2012 suggests that 280 people lost their lives in drink drive accidents over 2012, with these figures 17% higher than those in 2012. Overall, drink drive car accidents caused 16% of all road deaths.
While the number of drink drive deaths and serious injuries Great Britain sees has seen a nearly six-fold decline since reporting on figures began in 1979, drink drivers still lead to very costly personal injury claims with alarming regularity. Drink driving convictions can see insurance premiums more than double, which sees offenders paying hundreds of pounds more for car insurance than people who have not committed motoring offences.