Third of Britons drive after drinking, survey shows

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The Independent Online

A third of motorists regularly drive after drinking, believing they are under the legal limit for driving with alcohol in the bloodstream, according to a new survey.

A third of motorists regularly drive after drinking, believing they are under the legal limit for driving with alcohol in the bloodstream, according to a new survey.

Yet one in six of those who drink and drive admit they do not know how to calculate the number of alcohol units they have consumed, according to the survey by polling company MORI for the insurance company Direct Line.

Nearly a third of those questioned said they had driven in the past knowing they were probably over the legal limit.

"Our research has revealed that a large number of motorists are potentially breaking the law without realizing it, putting themselves and others at risk," said Dominic Birth, road safety campaign manager for Direct Line.

"There is no foolproof guide to how much alcohol you can drink and still stay within the law. So the best advice if you are planning to drive is don't drink any alcohol at all," he said.

The survey was published as a police force announced it was offering the public cash rewards to report drink drivers over the festive season.

Thames Valley Police said it had set up a telephone hot line for the public to leave information on. If a call led to an arrest and conviction the average cash reward would be between 80–120 pounds (dlrs 113–170), the force said.

"These people are arrogant enough to believe they will not be caught," said Insp. Dave Hartin, head of the force's Roads Policing and Intelligence Unit.

"I have to tell them we will be making every effort to prove them wrong."

The survey also showed a third of drivers had been stopped by police and undergone breath tests for alcohol consumption. One in 10 of those had failed breath tests.

The law says drivers cannot have more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood – a blood alcohol level of .08. That would be about 1 1/2 to two pints of beer or three glasses of wine.

Forty–two percent of those surveyed said the current alcohol limit should be lowered, while 39 percent said the current limit should remain.

MORI questioned 2,000 drivers across Britain in July. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points.

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