We know you know there are dangers involved in drinking alcohol, not only the direct health risks associated, but also those to your personal safety and reputation. But you’re probably sick of people telling you not to drink, so we’re here to give you the facts and offer guidance so you can make an informed decision about your own drinking habits.
ALCOHOL has always been at the heart of British culture and the list of reasons for having a drink is seemingly endless. We’ll have a pint to unwind after a hard day at the office or a glass of wine if the children have been particularly troublesome. We drink to celebrate or to drown our sorrows.
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How much alcohol is it safe to drink? The answer it seems depends on where you live in the world.
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I don’t drink but I’m worried that if I get pulled over/breathalised that I could test positive because of my friends’ breath?
There is no possibility that a person can be contaminated by another person’s breath, as the alcohol has to be ingested to permeate the blood stream. Therefore, even though alcohol breath test meters are very sensitive, if you were breathalysed and had not ingested alcohol this would not register.
Every year many drivers are breathalised particularly after a crash. If it is the case the that vehicle interior smells of alcohol, it would not be unreasonable for driver to be breathalised but if the driver hasn’t been drinking, it will show negative so there will be no further action.
If you were pulled over it would simply be to check there is an alcohol-free designated driver at the wheel.
On the Isle of Man medical information is kept in the A&E Department for all visits that any individual patient makes to the department. They are a separate Department and as such have their own files and don’t use the hospital notes.
Any information is only shared with other agencies to ensure your health and wellbeing, or if it is thought you may be at risk of any harm. GPs also routinely receive a letter following every A&E attendance. (Unless your GP is in the UK.)
Accident and Emergency staff will automatically make a referral to the Alcohol Advisory Service young person’s worker as you are under 18 and have been admitted because of an alcohol issue. However, it would be up to you if you wanted to use them as a supporting network.
Any ‘charges’ that are made by the Police will be followed up by them – so if the Police took you to A&E with acute intoxication and subsequently made any charges they will follow them up. However, if you were not admitted by the police it is unlikely that any charges will be raised.
There is no failsafe guide as to how much you can drink and stay under the limit. The amount and type of alcoholic drink and your weight, size, age and metabolism will all play their part. Any amount of alcohol will affect your judgment, starting with your judgment about whether you should have another drink.
The legal alcohol limit for drivers on the Isle of Man is:
- - 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
- - 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- - 107 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive - even a single drink affects your driving performance.
If you drive after drinking, you’ll:
- - be less alert and careful, however slowly you drive
- - have trouble judging your speed
- - be slower to react to hazards and it will take you longer to stop
There’s no safe way to calculate how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you depends on:
- - your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate at which your body uses energy)
- - your stress levels at the time
- - what you have eaten recently
- - the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
The only way to be sure you’re not over the limit is not to drink any alcohol if you’re driving.
This is a great question and one that as always isn’t straightforward to answer ☺
It is a complex area and has been widely debated. Many of the issues come from the fact that people actually produce alcohol naturally so the base level of alcohol in the system will vary naturally from person to person. There is also a small amount of alcohol in some cough syrups and mouthwashes which makes the zero limit unrealistic.
Interestingly, the aviation industry, which is one of the most safety regulated communities in the world, has a limit of 20 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. The current driving limit is 80mg/100ml.
Ultimately, this is a matter for parliament and legislation to resolve. If it were to be reduced, they would also need to decide whether this would be a phased reduction or a single drop from 80mg/100ml to the new limit.