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88% of drivers cannot correctly identify drink-drive limit

That’s the finding of latest research by Accident Advice Helpline, which surveyed 1,000 motorists and found that 44% admitted that they wanted to see a zero tolerance policy adopted, and a further 29% wanted to see the current drink drive limit lowered.

The survey found that men were better at identifying the drink drive limit than women, with 17% and 9% correctly identifying the right limit respectively.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is: 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body. 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath. 107 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of urine.

The amount of alcohol it takes to be over the limit varies from person to person, but again this is something that is misunderstood by many.

The study – released as new research finds that young, male drivers are the most prolific drink drive offenders and that two-thirds of drivers wouldn't drink at all if the limit was reduced – found that almost half of UK motorists (42%) admitted that they did not think gender had an impact on a person’s drink drive limit and when asked if two people drinking the same glass of wine would have the same tolerance. About 10% admitted that they weren’t sure and 4% admitted that they would.

Results released by Accident Advice Helpline also suggested some people have very little understanding of how much alcohol consumed constitutes to being over the legal limit to drive – a disturbing 15% of those polled said they thought they would be OK to drive after drinking a long island iced tea which generally has 4-5 shots of hard liquor in it.

The biggest offenders were females – 20% surveyed said they thought it was OK to drink a long island iced tea and drive and 9% believed it was acceptable to drink 2 pints of beer before getting behind the wheel.

A small percentage of those surveyed also thought it was acceptable to drink over five pints and an entire bottle of wine.

David Carter of Accident Advice Helpline said: “Motorists find it hard to know what 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood actually is. While there are general rules of how much you can drink everyone is different so the only way to be 100% sure you’re fit to drive is to not drink at all.”

In response Carter urged motorists to adopt a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving as “there seems to be a worrying misunderstanding among UK motorists of what the actual drink drive alcohol limit is”.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.