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In the past 12 months, 20 people have been killed and a further 1,061 were injured on Cumbrian roads due to dangerous driving.

Drink Driving

Drink driving is illegal and puts lives at risk.

It is not possible to say 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 your body uses energy)
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
  • what you’ve eaten recently
  • your stress levels at the time

So, if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

Penalties for drink driving

You could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine if you’re found guilty of drink-driving.

There are strict penalties if you are convicted of drink driving, including:

  • a minimum 12 month driving ban
  • a criminal record
  • a hefty fine
  • up to 6 months in prison
  • an endorsement on your licence for 11 years

However, this list does not reflect the everyday consequences of being caught drink driving which can include:

  • increase in car insurance costs
  • job loss
  • trouble getting in to countries like the USA
  • the shame of having a criminal record
  • loss of independence

Read more on the penalties here.

Drug Driving

Drug driving has the same penalties as drink driving.

It’s illegal to drive if either:

  • you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
  • you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving)

Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines. If you’re taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

The police can stop you and make you do a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think you’re on drugs. This is a series of tests, for example asking you to walk in a straight line.

They can also use a roadside drug kit to screen for cannabis and cocaine.

If they think you’re unfit to drive because of taking drugs, you’ll be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station.

You could be charged with a crime if the test shows you’ve taken drugs.

Penalties for drug driving

If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll get:

  • a minimum 1 year driving ban
  • an unlimited fine
  • up to 6 months in prison
  • a criminal record
  • Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Other problems you could face

A conviction for drug driving also means:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA

For further information about drugs driving, visit: Drugs and driving: the law - GOV.UK

Mobile phones

It’s illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving – including using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media.

This also applied even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked with the engine turned off, or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

If caught using your mobile phone you will receive a £200 fine and 6 penalty points. You’ll also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.

You can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

You can also be taken to court where you can:

Seatbelts

Putting your seatbelt on can take seconds and can be the difference between life and death.

It is a requirement by law to wear your seatbelt if one is fitted in the seat you’re using - there are only a few exceptions.

You can be fined up to £500 if you don’t wear a seat belt when you’re supposed to.

You must make sure that any children in the vehicle you’re driving are:

  • In the correct car seat for their height or weight until they reach 135 centimetres tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first
  • wearing a seat belt if they’re 12 or 13 years old, or younger and over 135cm tall

You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you’re driving.