Saturday, 11 August 2012

Breaking the law?

Here are the results of the poll as to whether people had knowingly broken the drink-driving limit. This was purely done out of interest rather than to make any specific point. 39 respondents, 49% of the total, and 61% of drivers, said they had done it “once” or a “few times”, which I suspect in general were well in the past and not something about which they felt any sense of pride.

As the question was whether you “knew”, not whether you thought you might have taken a risk, I wouldn’t suggest anyone answering “Never” was a hypocrite, although if the question had been whether people had ever driven with a quantity of alcohol in their bloodstream above zero, for anyone who was at all a frequent driver and a frequent drinker such an answer certainly would have been.

Over the years I have encountered one or two people who claimed to “never drink and drive” and indeed on occasions were critical of others who did so within the legal limit, and yet because of the general level of their evening consumption must often have been over the limit the following morning. The slow rate at which alcohol is metabolised by the body is still not appreciated as widely as it should be. Take a look at and work it out for yourself.

The proportion of non-drivers at 19% is very close to the proportion in the male adult population as a whole. I assume that, as past surveys have shown, the vast majority of readers of this blog are male. According to the DfT transport statistics, it is 20% of all males and 28% of all drivers. Interestingly, though, only 10% of males in the 40-69 age group do not have a licence, and so I would say amongst the blog’s core audience non-drivers are over-represented. Possibly some peopke make a choice early in life to be “drinkers” and not “drivers”, thus avoiding all the judgments and compromises that combining both in your life involves.


  1. I am one of those who falls into the last paragraph.
    I have never wanted to drive because i have always enjoyed going out for a drink,i have also been pub crawling as an hobby for the last 30 years,so driving is'nt an option for me.

  2. The only fact you can obtain from a survey is that someone has filled it in. Everything else is conjecture - are they making themsleves out to be braver/more stupid/cretinous/boring than they really are? No one knows. All anyone will know is that various boxes have been ticked on a survey form. Waste of time.

  3. To some extent I support the point of view of the last poster although not for the same reasons.
    When the breathalyser was first introduced I ignored it completely and continued to do so for a great many years. However I never got too drunk to drive. Being breathalysed 3 times, twice under the limit and the last time negative after I had been to pick my wife up from a pub after her retirement party, (the police were in concealed waiting outside the car park),I decided it was not worth the aggro.
    I no longer visit pubs because of the smoking ban, and if out in the car never drink alcohol at all now.

  4. Fascinating: I can drink 3 pints in 2 hours and be perfectly fine to drive, but drink 8 pints and I still can't drive at lunch time tomorrow.

  5. You might be marginally below the British legal alcohol limit, but that doesn't mean you would be "perfectly fine to drive".

    The underlying algorithm behind rupissed is a bit suspect to my mind, as it takes no account of the build-up and subsequent metabolisation of alcohol while you are drinking. Therefore it's probably best to interpret "when you started drinking" as "when you finished drinking".

    It's certainly true, though, that it reckons with 3 pints of 3.8% beer I would still be marginally under the UK limit, but with 7 pints having started at 8.30 pm I would still be just over the limit at 7.30 am the following morning.


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