Drink driver warns about getting behind the wheel after night out
ARE you planning on having a drink tonight?
If you need to get behind the wheel in the morning, maybe you should think again.
Doing just that after having a few drinks during a rare mid-week night out at her friend's house cost 39-year-old Claire Blades-Evans the job she loved and her driving licence after she was stopped by police on the way to work.
Grimsby magistrates heard the mum-of-two had only been pulled over by police in Great Coates Road, Healing, at about 8.30am, after they received a tip-off she might be over the limit – and that her driving had been "immaculate".
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However, although she also "felt absolutely fine", a breath-test revealed to a horrified Claire, who worked as a Child Support Assistant at Tollbar Academy, had 78mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.
She was fined £100, banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and a Government-imposed £20 victims' surcharge.
Today, Claire, of Sanctuary Way, Wybers Wood, is hoping by sharing her story, she may prevent others from making the same mistake.
She said: "I just want to warn people how easy it is – I hadn't realised I had had enough to drink to put me over the limit.
"You get up and you feel fine in the morning, so you just don't think about it – but I will certainly think twice about having a drink in the future.
"I have never been in trouble before, but I made a stupid mistake and I am paying for it.
"I loved my job. I wouldn't have done anything to jeopardise it. I resigned on the day I was pulled over. I didn't want to cause them any embarrassment. They have been so good to me.
"If one person thinks twice about it after reading this, at least something good will have come of this."
She added the information she had learned on a compulsory course for all those convicted of drink-driving had been "a real eye-opener".
She said: "I hadn't realised how the number of units in drinks can vary so much and how long it takes to leave your system."
Of course, there is no way of knowing if you will definitely be under the limit the morning after the night before – unless you don't drink alcohol.
Many factors can affect how quickly your body processes alcohol, from whether you're male or female, to the rate of your metabolism, your weight, height, how much sleep you have had and even your state of mind.
Barry Gardner, Humberside Police's casualty reduction officer, said: "The danger of making any generic guide to what is a safe amount to drink and be legal is everyone is different."
Guide to alcohol units
THERE is no such thing as a definitive guide to what constitutes a measure of alcohol, as it varies from drink to drink, depending on its strength.
However, keep our handy download-and-keep guide in your home, to remind you to keep tabs on what you have had to drink.
According to medical experts from www.patient.co.uk, one unit of alcohol is about equal to:
Half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager, or cider (3-4 per cent alcohol by volume)
A small pub measure (25 ml) of spirits (40 per cent alcohol by volume)
A standard pub measure (50 ml) of fortified wine such as sherry or port (20 per cent alcohol by volume)
There are one and a half units of alcohol in:
A small glass (125 ml) of ordinary strength wine (12 per cent alcohol by volume)
A standard pub measure (35 ml) of spirits (40 per cent alcohol by volume).
But remember, many wines and beers are stronger than the more traditional ordinary strengths.
A more accurate way of calculating units is as follows. The percentage alcohol by volume (% abv) of a drink equals the number of units in one litre of that drink.
For example: Strong beer at 6 per cent abv has six units in one litre. If you drink half a litre (500 ml) – just under a pint – then you have had three units.
Wine at 14 per cent abv has 14 units in one litre. If you drink a quarter of a litre (250 ml) – two small glasses – then you have had three and a half units.