what you need to know about drinking and driving over the festive season – what
the law states, how much alcohol is actually in your drinks, what the
consequences may be if you are caught.
How much alcohol can I have and drive?
states that you must have less than 0.05g/100ml in your blood or less than 0.24mg/1000ml
if you hope to pass a breathalyser test.
How much alcohol is in my drinks?
1 unit of
alcohol is equivalent to 0.02g blood alcohol. Here is a list of what most
normal drinks contain (roughly – bearing in mind that some beers and wines can
be higher than the norm):
1 x 150 ml glass of
wine = 2 unit
1 x 250 ml glass of wine = 3.3 units
1 x shot/shooter = ½ unit in most instances (but see 25ml tot of spirits below)
1 x spirit cooler = about 1.25 units
1 x beer = 1.5 units or possibly more
1 x cider = 2 units
1 x 25 ml tot of spirits = 1 unit
1 x cocktail = Between 2 and 4 units
So this means that
if you drink just 2 small glasses of wine or 2 beers within the space of one
hour – you are probably over the legal limit to drive. If you
drink just a single cocktail, you can virtually count on it. Your body requires
on average 1 hour to process 1 unit of alcohol and nothing – not coffee, cold showers,
a swim or drinking lots of water – will make that happen much faster.
What happens if I get caught?
All of the following are possible consequences – criminal record, jail sentence
for up to 6 years, fine of up to R120,000, loss of driving licence. And the
worst consequence of all – killing or maiming someone, possibly someone you
know and love. A life sentence with no reprieve.
What should I do to avoid this?
will tell you that it’s all subject to how much you weigh, how fast your metabolism
is, whether you’re male or female, etc et but the point is that you have no
proof of how sober you are or not until the blue lights are flashing and you
blow into that little tube. Better to book a taxi or a drive-home service, stay
overnight or take it in turns with your friends to be the designated driver
where one of you sticks to soft drinks and you all enjoy a smug feeling of
satisfaction as you sail through any roadblock in safety.
Read more about the 'snowball effect' of drinking and driving here.