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What every student needs to know about drink-driving


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If you learn one thing from your university education, let it be to never drink and drive.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. We all know this, yet the figures remain high, reflecting a disappointing attitude to safety on the roads in the United Kingdom. 

The rate of road accident victims is especially high among young people, which has led Mitchell Labiak to reach out to students and warn them both of the danger of drink driving, and what to do if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation. 

Read what he had to say below:

Drink-driving statistics in the UK make for harrowing reading. In 2015 alone, 170 young British people aged 17 to 24 were either killed or seriously injured because of drink driving. That’s more than two people a week. If you’re on a night out drinking this week, you need to make sure that that person is not you.

By far the best advice is preventative. However, if you do get caught, you need to make sure you turn to the right people. So, here is what every student needs to know about drink-driving.

1. The law is strict

Drink-driving laws are very firm, but they are also very fair. In the UK, the standard drink-driving conviction consists of a six-month prison sentence, a fine, and a year’s ban from driving. What’s more, you may never be able to travel to the US, you will need to state your drink-driving conviction when you apply for a job, and your car insurance premiums will go up dramatically.

In Jersey in the Channel Islands, the conviction is similar. However, the conviction will also make hiring a car very difficult for the next 10 years, and you will need to resit your driving qualification.

In England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Jersey, the legal limit for alcohol is the same. In Scotland, however, it’s significantly less and there are plans to have the drink-driving limit in Jersey. If you are at university in Scotland or on the Channel Islands, it’s important to know this. Of course, the best thing to do is just to avoid alcohol entirely if you’re driving.

2. If you get caught, be smart

If you’ve already been caught drink-driving, it’s time to be smart. If it’s a fine, pay it as soon as possible. If you need to go to court, don’t be afraid to seek advice from a criminal lawyer. It might seem like a cut and dry case, but there are some instances where you may be able to defend your conviction.

It might be that you weren’t technically over the limit, or it might be that an otherwise clean criminal record means your conviction could be lessened. However, if you don’t seek out legal advice, you won’t know for sure.

3. Getting into a drunk person’s car makes you culpable

When you get into drunk person’s car, you are telling them that it’s okay for them to drive. It’s not okay. After all, you’re not just putting your life at risk, and you’re not just putting everyone in the car’s life at risk. Rather, by getting into that car, you are implicitly telling that driver that it’s okay for them to drive, and you are putting other innocent, sober drivers on the roads that night at risk as well.

4. There’s no such thing as “getting away with it”

Even if you don’t get caught by the police that night, the fact is that you should have been. Not getting caught doesn’t mean you got away with it. If anyone can prove that you were drink-driving that night, you could still be arrested and charged — and rightly so.

After all, the concern people have is due to the risk. Whether or not you caused damage, you still created substantial risk.

5. Drink-driving is not the norm

University often involves a fair amount of drinking. This isn’t always the case - some students enjoy their few years studying and socialising without alcohol - but it’s certainly considered the norm. After all, when you get a bunch of young people living together (most of them away from home for the first time), it’s understandable that they’d want to express their new-found freedom by sharing a few beers with new friends.

This is perfectly fine, of course. Though my university years are behind me, I’d never begrudge students the opportunity to let their hair down after a particularly stressful exam or essay hand-in with a few cocktails or glasses of pinot grigio.

The issue comes when students decide to drink and drive. Sadly, it’s an issue for the student age group far too often - with the highest percentage of road accident victims being 20-29 years old.

When everyone is doing something, it’s often considered normal. Never mind the fact that it’s illegal. If you know your friend got away with doing something, you’re more likely to do it yourself. You can take solace in the fact that this isn’t just something which happens to young people; it’s universal and it’s human nature. 

Even still, when it comes to drink-driving, you need to know that it’s not the norm. No matter how many people you may know or may have heard of who got away with breaking the law, it’s not something you should ever tolerate.

About the author

Mitchell Labiak a freelance writer, YouTuber, and content marketer at Exposure Ninja. He likes to travel to places that he struggles to pronounce and read books with words he struggles to understand.

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