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Driving When Tired or Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Driving when tired

  • If a driver has not slept in 17 hours, their driving ability is similar to a driver who is almost exceeding the legal drink drive limit.
  • Teenagers need approximately 8 to 10 hours sleep every night.
  • Driving when tired is particularly common in newly qualified drivers and is often the cause of single vehicle crashes.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Newly qualified drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol have a greater risk of being involved in a crash than experienced drivers (estimated to be five times greater).
  • Traces of illegal drugs were found in the bodies of 18% of car driver fatalities.
  • Serious penalties apply for newly qualified drivers who drive over the legal alcohol limit (80 mg per 100ml blood).

UK Police are able to undertake roadside drug and alcohol tests with serious penalties applying for impaired driving. For example drivers who are impaired by drink or drugs could receive a 6 month prison sentence, a minimum disqualification of 12 months or a maximum fine of £5,000.

Suggestions to reduce the risks…

Discuss with your newly qualified driver the increased crash risk posed by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when fatigued.

Work out strategies so that your newly qualified driver avoids driving when tired and/or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For example:

  • Organise to pick him or her up or pay for a taxi.
  • Encourage him or her to take a power-nap before they drive (no more than 20 minutes).
  • Remind your newly qualified driver that it takes approximately one hour for one unit of alcohol to work through the body.

Next: Driving Recklessly…

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