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Could your Christmas dinner put you over the drink drive limit?

December 14, 2018 by in category News with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > Could your Christmas dinner put you over the drink drive limit?

Tis the season of mulled wine, Christmas markets and overeating. However, it is also the season of a drink driving and drug driving campaign that sweeps across the nation in every police force in England and Wales. These campaigns see a rise in police officers carrying out roadside checks throughout the day and night (including in the early morning), as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity.

Alcohol Content in Our Favourite Christmas Treats

Many of us enjoy living by the moto ‘treat yourself’ over the Christmas period, but are we really taking note of what we are consuming?

Christmas Pudding

The ‘Collection 12-Month Matured Intensely Fruity Christmas Pudding’ from Marks and Spencer’s contains:

  • 5% Brandy
  • 4% Cognac
  • 3% Ruby Port
  • 2.5% Stout

Based on the pudding being shared between 8 people that’s an astonishing 0.7 units per portion.

Christmas Meal

Based on the ‘usual’ Christmas Day consumption outlined below, many motorists forget to count the “hidden” alcohol content of our favourite chocolate, puddings and drinks. With a heavy consumption of stodgy food people might say they feel OK to drive. In reality they might be over the legal limit, putting themselves and other road users at risk.

  1. Consuming a glass of wine (2 units) before driving, combined with one mince pie plus brandy butter (1 unit) would put the average female at or over the drink-drive limit.
  2. Consuming a double spirit or fortified wine such as sherry or port (roughly two units per 50ml) after a single portion of Christmas cake plus rum sauce (1.5 units).
  3. A Bailey’s hot chocolate (roughly two units) combined with a generous portion of Christmas pudding and rum sauce would exceed four units and would put the average male over the drink-drive limit.

Christmas Dinner Breakdown

Food / DrinkAlcohol ContentsUnits
Two medium glasses of wine13%5.4 units
Christmas pudding with brandy sauce / Sherry Trifle
  • 5% Brandy
  • 4% Cognac
  • 3% Ruby Port
  • 2.5% Stout
0.7 units
Baileys (50ml)17%0.8 units

­Alcohol and food

Eating a large meal may give you a false sense of security that you will be fine to drive. However, the rate of absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream is unpredictable and depends on a number of factors such as the level of hydration, the type of alcoholic drink consumed and whether food is eaten at the same time. As a broad rule of thumb, the alcohol in a drink is fully absorbed about an hour after the drink is finished.

Food for Thought

We hope we have made you think but if our analysis of Christmas treats didn’t hit home, maybe the hard facts of the number of police arrests over the last couple of Christmas campaigns will make our point:

The National Police Chiefs’ Council published these figures after the last festive season’s drink driving campaigns had concluded:

RESULTSDecember 2017December 2016
Total number of vehicles stopped98,234103,085
Total breath tests administered91,46694,940
Total of those that were positive, refused or failed5,9225,698
% of total tested that were positive, failed or refused6.5%6%
Total breath tests administered NOT involving collisions58,55269,071
Total of those that were positive, refused or failed3,5073,688
% of total tested that were positive, failed or refused6.0%5.3%
Total breath tests administered FOLLOWING collisions17,13818,978
Total of those that were positive, refused or failed1,5751,752
% of total tested that were positive, failed or refused9.2%9.2%
Total number of breath tests administered to UNDER 25s15,43918,322
Total of those that were positive, refused or failed1,2501,128
% of total tested that were positive, failed or refused8.1%6.2%
Total number of breath tests administered to 25 YEARS AND OVER56,97566,085
Total of those that were positive, refused or failed3,8093,526
% of total tested that were positive, failed or refused6.7%5.3%
Total number of Drug FIELD IMPAIRMENT TESTS conducted566
Total of those that resulted in a Section 4 arrest176
% of total tested that resulted in a Section 4 arrest31.1%
Total number of Drug screening devices administered38852642
Total number of positive Drug screening device tests16781279
% of total tested that were positive43.2%48.4%
Total number of Drug screening devices administered following a collision540388
Total number of positive Drug screening device tests following a collision109105
% of total tested that were positive20.2%27%

So many of our clients get in touch after sleepless nights often berating themselves for their decisions. Whilst we do not promote drinking and driving, this does not detract from our genuine desire to help people make the right legal choices when facing drink driving or any motoring charges. Therefore, if you do find yourself having been stopped by the police over the Christmas period, we are open 365 days a year for free, no obligation advice.

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Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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