’tis NOT The Season To Be Jolly


man blowing into a breathalyser held by a police officer

Ignore what the song says. If you’re behind the wheel, jolly is the exact opposite of what you should be (unless it’s just in the happy sense, of course).

Back in the 16th Century when it first originated, cars, trucks and busses didn’t exist. At least nothing that resembles what is on the roads today.

And it was only in the late 60’s that driving with excess alcohol in your system became an offence under the Road Safety Act.

However, the dangers of drink driving are well-documented and it is indisputable that doing so significantly increases the risk of being involved in a collision.

The Risks

Driving under the influence poses a number of serious risks, both in terms of safety (the obvious) but also, less obviously, economically, socially and emotionally.

According to DrinkDriving.org, an average of over 650 people are killed, and 3,500 seriously injured as a result of drink-driving related incidents every year in the UK.

To put that into perspective, that’s almost two-a-day killed and 10-a-day seriously injured.

Economic Risks

For the offence of Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink, the sentencing guidelines include:

  • An Unlimited fine
  • Up to 6 month’s imprisonment
  • A driving ban of at least 12 months (3 years if it’s a 2nd offence)

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to stump up the cash for the fine, there’s also the possibility that you’ll be out of work.

If your job relies on you being able to drive, you could be facing a loss of income. In the event that you receive a prison sentence, it’s almost guaranteed.

Even when you’ve served your ban – lots of insurance companies won’t allow you to drive professionally with an unspent DR endorsement on your licence.

There’s also a strong possibility that your personal insurance premiums will see a significant increase following conviction.

Most DR convictions are only considered ‘spent’ after five years and they’ll appear on your licence for up to 11 years.

In addition to an increase in premiums, it’s worth knowing that it’s extremely likely your insurance will be rendered void if you’re driving whilst over the limit.  This could leave you not only with a significant bill for any damage caused, but also extra fines, points/endorsements and insurance premium increases due to the additional insurance-related offences.

Social Risks

Over the years, there have been a number of coordinated advertising campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the risks of drink-driving.

The result is that public opinion has continually shifted, to the point where the majority of people now see it as something that is socially unacceptable.

In fact, a survey by Public Health England found that 77% of respondents were in favour of reducing the alcohol limit for drink-driving.

Emotional Risks

If the areas we’ve already covered weren’t enough, there’s also the emotional toll that drink-driving can take both on the individual making the decision to get behind the wheel, but also on their friends and family who may be placed in an impossible situation as a result.

  • If you knew a friend or relative was planning to drink-drive, would you make the call to report them?
    • If not, how would it make you feel if they went on to kill or seriously injure someone?
  • If you killed or seriously injured someone as a result of being drunk behind the wheel, how would that make you feel?
    • What if that person was a small child?
  • If you lost your licence and/or job, would you still be able to see your friends and family that didn’t live with you?
  • Would you need to rely on a friend or family member to transport you around if you were convicted?
    • How would they feel about that?
  • If you received a custodial sentence, how would your friends and family cope without you?

The effects of drink-driving can be profound and often far more extensive that you might imagine.

Don’t put yourself in that position. Don’t take the risk.