Study suggests that half of those surveyed can’t determine the limit for drink driving and feel safe behind the wheel when boozing.

  • Half of those who have tried alcohol before couldn’t determine the limit.
  • Studies have shown that 53% believed it was safe to drive after drinking. 
  • Police are increasing their enforcement of the prohibition on alcohol and drugs driving in the lead-up to Christmas. 

Working out how much is safe to drink before driving is always a gamble – but now a study has revealed just how wrong we can get it.

Researchers asked 90 participants to have a beer, wine, or both. They were also encouraged to speak out if they felt they had crossed the line. 

Amazingly, 53% believed it was safe to drive.

Researchers asked 90 people to drink beer or wine or both and speak up when they thought they were over the limit (file image)

Researchers asked 90 participants to have a beer, wine or both. They were also encouraged to speak out if they felt they had exceeded the limits (file image).

The study’s authors suggest that encouraging people to think more about how much they’ve drunk rather than how they feel may help them to judge their fitness to drive better. 

Dr Kai Hensel, who led the study from Cambridge University and Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, told the Harm Reduction Journal: ‘These findings show the importance of thinking carefully about getting behind the wheel.’

Police are getting tough on drug and drink driving in the lead up to Christmas and targeting hotspots. 6.730 drivers were cited for breaking the law last year.

Dr Hensel stated that in countries where there are legal limits on alcohol, the driver is often responsible for judging how well they have drank and how fit they feel to drive.

As we have shown, our judgment is not always perfect. One in two participants in the study underestimated their drunkenness. This can lead to devastating results.

According to Department for Transport statistics, the death or serious injury (KSI), in drunk-driving crashes on Britain’s roads has reached an eight year high.

About 2,050 KSI victims were involved in accidents where at least one driver had exceeded the limit of alcohol. This is an 8% increase over 2011 and is the highest number since 2011.

German researchers noticed that the more drunk people were, the less they could estimate their breath alcohol concentration.

Dr Hensel warns that it could cause “serious implications” in countries where the legal limit for driving is higher.

England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have a maximum limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood. No other European country has more than 50mg/100ml.

The limit was reduced to 50 mg/100ml by the Scottish Government in 2014.