While many fables can make for great bedtime reading, many misconceptions can turn deadly when it comes to drinking and driving. To beat the system, myths and misconceptions develop around certain things. However, the ones that surround drinking and driving can be fatal. Below are some of the most common drinking and driving myths and the truths behind them:
As long as I stick to only two drinks, I can drive safely.
Alcohol limits in England and Wales are set at 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath and 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres, respectively. However, it would be impossible to equate those to the number of drinks you can have as it can differ from one person to another.
Also, whether you can legally and safely drive the next morning will depend on several factors. These factors can include how much you have drank and if your body has enough time to eliminate the alcohol.
Even if you believe you know how to get alcohol out of your system, there is just no way of knowing since the time and the speed at which the body gets rid of alcohol can differ from person to person.
On average, alcohol is removed from the body at about one unit an hour. However, this can depend on several important factors like gender, size, the amount of food you have eaten, your metabolism, and the state of your liver.
Alcohol won't cause as much harm as drugs.
Drinking comes with many health dangers. Short-term but excessive alcohol abuse can increase your risk of injuries, accidents, and violence. Over time, excessive drinking can also increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, memory loss, liver damage, and even some types of cancer. The risk is even greater if you have other health issues like diabetes, osteoporosis, and mood disorders.
Eating a meal while drinking can help ensure I won't get drunk.
While it would take longer for alcohol to pass through your system when you drink, it won't stop it from getting into your system. With the trickle effect in which alcohol enters your system, you can feel like you have consumed less alcohol even if you have consumed more. This can lead you to believe you can drive safely even if you are not fit enough.
I can't be charged if I am just sitting in the driver's seat but not driving.
If you are sitting in your vehicle with the car keys (even if the engine is off), you can still be prosecuted for being in charge of a vehicle while unfit to drive or above the legal limit. A conviction can result in a possible driving ban, a fine of up to £2,500 and three months imprisonment. It is also important to remember that even if you drink your alcohol straight or with a mixer, it won't reduce your alcohol levels.
If I pass the breathalyser test, I can't be prosecuted for drunk driving.
Even if the breathalyser test indicates you are not over the limit (less than 35 micrograms for every 100 millilitres of breath), if the police suspect you of careless driving, any reading won't hinder them from charging you for getting behind the wheel even if you are unfit to drive.
A DUI conviction can result in a fine of up to £5,000, a criminal record, and up to six months in prison. If convicted of causing death through careless driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can face more severe penalties, including an unlimited fine and up to 14 years in jail.
About the Author:
Lauren Kunis is the Content Marketing Strategist for Stonewall Institute, an outpatient alcohol and drug treatment center in Phoenix, Arizona that offers online DUI classes, DUI screenings, and a holistic, individualized approach to addiction recovery. She loves reading books, travelling, and going on hiking adventures with her dog, Max.
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