But never have I attended a course which has had as much impact as the one I completed recently.
The Avoidd drink-drive avoidance course provides a hard-hitting reminder about the dangers of alcohol and driving, especially the ‘morning after the night before’ issue which tends to be forgotten in a lot of advertising campaigns.
With Christmas just around the corner, firms should be highlighting the issue of drink driving to employees – and there seem to be several misconceptions about what is a safe level of alcohol to drink before getting behind the wheel.
According to Sue Turney, the course tutor from Avoidd, there’s only one safe level of alcohol – and that’s zero.
The major problem is that measures are now bigger than ever. A glass of wine is no longer a dainty one – 250ml (a third of a bottle) is standard in a lot of bars and if the strength of the wine is 15% which again is common, then this equates to four units of alcohol.
Turney said: ‘The only thing which makes a difference to the amount of alcohol in your blood is time.’
Experts claim that for every unit of alcohol drunk, drivers should wait at least an hour before getting into a car. So for a 250ml 15% glass of wine, that’s four hours after drinking it.
How many fleet drivers have a glass of wine or a lager at lunch? One bottle of beer could be 1.5 units whereas another, such as a pint of Stella Artois, can be three units. One bottle could mean just over an hour’s wait or it could mean three.
‘The choice of the strength of a glass of wine or beer can have a big impact on the breathalyser,’ Turney said.
This is especially true when driving the morning after a night of drinking. Drivers may feel a little groggy, but a couple of headache tablets and a glass of water later they could be on the road.
It is now common for both men and women to go home and open a bottle of wine at the end of a day.
There are several myths which some drivers believe will foil the breathalyser. Turney dismisses them all.
She said: ‘There are myths about drinking such as the two-pint rule where two pints is OK, but this is not true. Coffee will help you feel better but won’t affect the amount of alcohol in your blood stream. The only safe way is not to have alcohol at all.’
Turney believes that there is a distinct shortage of alcohol awareness in the industry and thinks it should be part of the standard driving test.
She said: ‘Alcohol awareness does not feature in the theory test, which is part of the driving test, but it should be. There is a severe lack of alcohol awareness.’
As Christmas approaches it is a company’s responsibility to ensure drivers are clear about the consequences of drinking and driving, especially if they are drinking at work-related events.
Throwing a lavish end of year party could mean a good time is had by all, but duty of care obligations ensuring that drivers are not forced onto the road early the next morning are paramount.
Drink-driving the morning after – a simple, but costly, mistake to make
This man, who asked not to be named, lost his licence after being caught the morning after a night out.