Christmas is Coming

Christmas is Coming

Won’t be long now, as the autumn days grow shorter and shorter, the leaves are blown from the trees, and it’s time to scrape the frost from the windscreen in the mornings.

Winter is fast approaching, and with it, like the inevitability of a tax demand, comes Christmas. With Christmas, what also inevitably arrives a thunderous month long crack down by the police on drink-driving.

Drinking and driving do not go together, and there are laws in place to discourage it, for very good reasons. We are all aware of the potential damage that could result from it, dramatic, tragic, even fatal, and it can never be condoned.

However, as the Christmas campaign edges nearer, a musing on statistics raises the questions, are Christmas’s the same as they were fifty years ago when the campaign started, and, a different, but related question, if the heavy duty campaign took place in say, March, or October, would it reveal a similar number of transgressors.

Even as recently as fifty years ago, cars and houses were different from todays. Heaters in cars were rudimentary, and in some cases non-existent. Indoors, very few houses had central heating, and visiting friends and relatives could be a chilly affair, and what better to warm “the cockles”, as you stood before the fire, than a hearty alcoholic drink.

The more houses visited, the more alcohol would doubtless be proffered. Roll on fifty years and the scene is rather different.

Houses are inherently warm throughout, as are most vehicles. Personal health awareness has changed attitudes to alcohol consumption for many, leading to it not being the natural first beverage to be offered in many circumstances.

Awareness and willingness to follow the laws on drink-driving are almost imprinted on drivers brains from the first day of having a driving license, however, it does no harm to look at the limits and allowances, whatever the time of year.

Alcohol intake is measured in units, with one unit being roughly the equivalent of a half-pint of beer, a small glass of wine, or a single pub-type measure of spirits.

The concentration of alcohol in the blood stream is expressed in milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, and the law currently has the limit for driving at 80mg/100ml. This means that a half to one pint of beer, I to 2 units, would read 20-50mg/100ml, and one and a half pints to two, ie 3 to 4 units, would read 50-80mg/100ml.

Everyone has a different metabolic rate and tolerances, but it does mean that the equivalent of two pints of beer could put a percentage of people over the limit…. because of this, drivers on occasion can find themselves failing a roadside breath test. If this has happened to you, ask for their advice and assistance.

It is unlikely you can escape Christmas, but you can escape the clutches of the accompanying police crack-down, defeat the breathalyser by not drinking!