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Drink and drug driving

Anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs is putting lives at risk - and we will not tolerate it.

The limit

In England, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 35mcg per 100ml of breath or 107mg per 100ml of urine.

How much can I drink?

There is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit. How much alcohol will push you over varies from person to person. It depends on:

  • Your weight
  • Your gender (men tend to process alcohol faster than women)
  • Your metabolism
  • Your current stress levels
  • Whether you’ve eaten recently
  • Age (younger people tend to process alcohol more slowly)

The punishment

Anyone caught drink driving will be banned from the road for at least 12 months, and fined up to £5,000. You can also be sent to prison for up to six months. Imprisonment, the period of disqualification and size of fine depend on the seriousness of the offence.

If you’re caught drink driving more than once in a 10 year period, you’ll be banned for at least three years.

The simple alternative to drink driving is to plan your journey home in advance of a night out. Book a taxi, arrange for someone to pick you up, take public transport or appoint a designated driver – all are far better options than a night in a cell, a driving ban, or causing serious injuries to yourself or someone else.

If you see someone looking to drive after they have taken drink or drugs, don’t stand aside and do nothing: try to stop them or call the police before someone else is injured.

If you want to report a drink or drug driver, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 1 – and pass information to the Force Control Room.

If you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.

The law

  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs = 14 years imprisonment, together with an unlimited fine, disqualification from driving for at least 2 years and a mandatory extended driving test.
  • Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink = 6 months imprisonment, together with a fine of up to £5,000 and disqualification from driving for at least 12 months (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years).
  • Being in charge of a vehicle whilst above the legal limit or unfit through drink = 3 months imprisonment, a fine of up to £2,500 and discretionary disqualification from driving.
  • Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis = 6 months imprisonment, together with a fine of up to £5,000 and disqualification from driving for at least 12 months.