Drink and Drug Driving

30 Jan 2017

It’s against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, and for very good reason. An average of 4600 people are killed or seriously injured in drink driving incidents each year, and drugs officially contributed to 321 serious or fatal crashes in 2015, though the true figure is likely to be much higher.

Alcohol and drugs slow reaction times, increase risky decision making, distort perception of time and distance, impede concentration and hamper physical control of the vehicle. The effects of some drugs can last for days, and users are likely to be fatigued while they are wearing off. Driving while impaired in any way is a terrible idea, not just for the driver but for their passengers and other road users around them.

Along with the alcohol breathalyser, police are now able to test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs such as ecstasy, LSD and heroin at the police station.

The penalties are the same for both drink and drug convictions, and can include a 12 month ban, a criminal record, an unlimited fine, 6 months in prison and a license endorsement lasting 11 years.

Not only will you face those immediate penalties, but there can be life-affecting knock-on consequences.

  • Your car insurance could go up. Having a criminal record will make it extremely difficult to get any other kind of insurance.
  • Getting into trouble with the law could be seen as gross misconduct by your employer and you could lose your job.
  • Having a criminal record could make it very difficult for you to get another job, and lying to your employer on any kind of application which asks you to disclose any criminal convictions could be seen as fraud and lead to a further conviction.
  • To get a mortgage you have to disclose any unspent convictions.
  • You may not be able to travel to America if you have a criminal conviction. Travelling to a country where you need a visa or a working permit can be very difficult with a criminal record.
  • Colleges and universities will have their own policies about misconduct and getting in trouble with the police could have a knock-on effect with your education.

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