Is driving after one drink worth the risk?

Don't drink and drive

A recent two-week drink driving campaign caught 195 drivers behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

Police Scotland tested 4,500 drivers between June 29 and July 13 and found 17 were over the new limit but below the old limit. Ten drivers were also found to be over the limit the morning after having a drink. 

Is one drink worth the risk?

Before the drink driving limit was lowered in Scotland on 5th December 2014, it was common for people to have a small alcoholic drink and drive home after.

However, with the new limit in force, it means even one alcoholic drink could result in you being over the limit. Everyone is different and there is no exact way of knowing whether one drink will put you over the limit. It can be affected by factors such as:

  • Your age, gender and weight
  • The speed of your metabolism
  • What you’ve eaten recently
  • Type of alcohol you’re drinking

Alcohol can impair your ability to identify and respond to hazards on the road and as all drivers should know, a delay in reaction time by even one second can mean the difference between a near miss and a collision, potentially injuring yourself and others.

As a result, it is safer to not have any alcohol if you are driving home, or driving later that day. It is also important to make sure that if you are drinking and driving the following day, that you leave enough time for the alcohol to leave your system.

What are the penalties for driving above the legal limit?

The police are legally entitled to stop any driver at any time if they believe they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers caught driving, or attempting to drive, above the legal drink driving limit face possible:

  • penalty points
  • substantial fine
  • driving ban
  • criminal record
  • prison sentence
  • car being taken away

The severity of the penalty may also increase based on previous convictions and if you are involved in a collision that injured or killed another person.

Other repercussions from drink driving

A conviction for drink driving has wide reaching social and economic impacts for you and other motorists. It can mean:

  • costs for car insurance goes up considerably
  • you could have difficulty travelling abroad
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your criminal conviction on your licence – and if this results in losing your job then your family could suffer from loss of income

We encourage any driver to consider the damage they could cause if driving under the influence of alcohol. There are very real and life changing consequences, not only for you, but for others around you.