Morning after the night before - don’t risk it

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In the run up to Christmas, people all over the country will be heading out to celebrate with friends, family and colleagues.

But do you ever think about how you will get home when the party is over?

The majority of us will be hailing a taxi, using public transport or a designated driver to ensure that we arrive home safely, but for some revellers, getting behind the wheel after a few drinks is still an option.

But 12 months on from the introduction of a lower drink drive limit in Scotland, the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland revealed new research that shows Scots are beginning to change their behaviour.

Their figures show that only five per cent of Scots still opt to drive after consuming alcohol on an evening out and 82 per cent agree drink driving is unacceptable.

The number of drink driving offences has also dropped by 12.5 per cent from December 2014 to August 2015, compared to the previous year.

However, the lower limit increased the risk of unintentionally drink driving the morning after, as it now takes between two to three hours longer to get below the limit than it did a year ago. Those heading out the morning after the night before, could risk the chance of still being over the limit although they may feel fine.

Sleep, coffee and showers won’t help you to sober up – time is the only way to get alcohol out your system.

At the launch of Police Scotland’s festive enforcement campaign Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, had a clear message.

He said: “Since the Scottish Government lowered the drink drive limit last December, all the statistics are going in the right direction.

“Fewer people are being caught but, more importantly, there’s a shift in attitudes to even having one drink and driving, and indeed driving the next day after drinking. But while these figures show that positive steps are being taken to change attitudes towards drink driving, it is concerning that there is still a minority who would risk the safety of other road users, and themselves, by getting behind the wheel after drinking.

“That is why I welcome the police action being taken to tackle reckless road users who continue to flout the law.

“Collectively, we are sending out a strong message when it comes to drink driving and our advice is simple – just don’t risk it.”

According to AlcoSense Personal Breathalysers the new limit has seen far fewer people taking the risk of even just having one drink if they have to drive the same night. Its statistics show that Scotland saw a 12.5 per cent reduction in drink driving offences compared to a 6.6 per cent fall in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense, said: “The legislative change has clearly had an impact in Scotland, with a significantly greater reduction in offences than elsewhere in the UK.

“People have become increasingly aware of the dangers associated with drink driving.”

Despite the risks, 16 per cent of drivers are still expected to take to the roads after a night out. What many don’t realise is that if they are convicted of drink driving they will be handed a 20-year minimum criminal record.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Alcohol at any level will affect your ability to drive – even at the new limit you are three times more likely to die in a crash than with no alcohol in your system. Don’t risk it, don’t drink and drive.”

And Superintendent Fraser Candlish, from Police Scotland, added: “Officers stop around 20,000 drivers a month in Scotland; on average, that’s one vehicle every two minutes.

“We will be increasing our enforcement throughout the festive period so the best advice is: if you are planning to drink this Christmas, don’t drive.”