Drinking even one pint of beer or one glass of wine could put you over the limit for drink driving is the warning from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety as a Christmas and New Year safety appeal is launched today.
Professor Denis Cusack, who is director of the Bureau says that they want people to enjoy themselves, but to be aware that there are “very serious dangers” in drinking and driving.
“If you've been out drinking until 2 or 3 in the morning, there's a big risk, particularly if you're a learner driver or a novice driver where the limit is 20 (20 mls of alcohol per 100mls of blood), not only of being caught but also of being in an accident and causing injury or killing somebody,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.
“One pint of beer or one glass of wine could put you over the limit, especially novice or professional drivers where the limit is 20/100.”
Prof Cusack, explained that the Medical Bureau of Road Safety is the national laboratory that analyses specimens of blood, urine and breath in alcohol and drugs and also provides the equipment that people see at roadside and in garda stations.
“We ensure every single device is checked again and again, we are prepared to stand over them and their results.”
He warned that it's very difficult for people to estimate the amount of alcohol they have in their body. “The human body is a fantastic machine, it has to work in a certain way, so when we take in a drink, we've got to handle it in the body and then get rid of it.
“One of the difficulties is you've almost got to be an expert in alcohol because beer, wine, spirits, liquors, they all have different alcohol concentrations.
“The advice really is, the bottom line is, don't drink and drive. It's very, very difficult to estimate how much is in your body.”
Prof Cusack added that people think that when they buy over the counter ‘morning after’ remedies that will help dissipate the effect of alcohol, but that is not the case, he said.
“Our bodies can only handle and get rid of alcohol, we get rid of approximately half a pint or a glass of wine every hour. So if you take two pints it's going to take four hours to get rid of that from your system.
“It takes an hour to get most drinks from your system. However, people rarely keep tabs on how much they've been drinking, when you keep on adding every 15 minutes, half an hour, it's impossible to calculate.
“The bottom line is, don’t drink and drive.”