MOTORISTS in Carmarthenshire are being warned not to drink and drive this Christmas.

The county council’s road safety unit is issuing advice for motorists to stay safe over the festive season.

Around 220 people are killed and over 1,100 seriously injured in drink drive crashes in Britain each year. Often it is the innocent person (a pedestrian, pedal cyclist, motorcyclist or a passenger) who suffers, not the driver who is over the drink drive limit.

During the 2016 Drink Drive campaign Police Forces in Wales administered 18,408 breath tests of which 478 were positive, failed or refused and there were 106 positive drug wipe tests.

Even a small amount of alcohol, below the legal limit, can seriously affect your ability to drive safely, and significantly increases the risk of crashing. It impairs drivers’ judgement, makes them over-confident and more likely to take risks, slows their reactions, increasing stopping distances, affects judgement of speed and distance, and reduces the driver’s field of vision.

The speed with which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream varies depending on a person’s size, age, weight and gender and whether they have eaten. The same amount of alcohol creates different blood alcohol levels in different people.

Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly, but it takes about an hour for 1 unit to be removed by a healthy liver.

The exact amount of alcohol in a drink depends on its size and alcoholic strength by volume (abv). For example, a 175ml glass of wine of 12%abv would be 2.1units of alcohol, and a 250ml glass of the same wine would be 3 units.

The alcoholic strength of drinks, and the size of measures, varies enormously. In pubs, bars and restaurants a glass of wine could be 175ml or 250ml, bottles and cans are different sizes and spirits could be 25ml or 35ml measures.

Drinks poured at home are usually larger than ones bought in a pub or restaurant, and it is difficult to know the alcoholic strength of a drink without seeing the bottle.

Never rely on trying to calculate accurately how much alcohol is in your body, and whether you are above or below the drink drive limit.

Executive board member for environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Motorists face the same consequences if caught the next morning, as if they had been caught the night before. Even if you are under the limit, you can still be charged with impairment through drink if stopped by police.

“Don’t drink and drive – you’re running a significantly increased risk of killing an innocent person, or yourself.”

Further information about alcohol units are available here: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/unit-calculator

Don’t pay the penalty:

The likelihood of being caught is now greater than ever before. Police will breathalyse any driver who:

Has been stopped for any moving traffic offence (e.g. using a mobile phone, a faulty brake light, not wearing a seatbelt)

They suspect has been drinking

Has been involved in an accident

Driving or attempting to drive whilst over the limit will result in:

Loss of licence – an automatic minimum 12 month driving ban

A risk of being fined up to £5,000

A criminal record

An offence which stays on your licence for 11 years

Having a criminal record can really impact on peoples’ lives, affecting:

Relationships

Job prospects

Travel – e.g. to USA

Insurance premiums, which can triple

Hiring a car

Social standing

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