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With the Christmas anti drink drive campaign underway in Kent; a motoring law specialist has issued a Top 12 Dos and Don'ts for drivers
David Barton who practices in Maidstone points out 211 people failed breath tests in Kent last Christmas and virtual courts mean you can lose your licence within 90 minutes of being charged
Here are his tips
1. Remember that alcohol affects different people in different ways. It varies depending on age, gender and body mass. Many wrongly believe that food intake helps; it doesn't. Drinking on an empty stomach might make you feel different, but won?t affect the result.
2. It takes around an hour and a half for the average person to metabolize one standard drink. The time taken is often greatly underestimated, which is why driving the morning after can be just as risky. A sleep will not necessarily have got rid of the alcohol in your body and drivers are frequently caught out the next morning - particularly if it's an early start going to work. A heavy and long night can take until mid-afternoon the following day to clear.
3. Plan ahead. If you know you are going to be partying hard, plan a taxi, or a place to stay for the night. If you don?t plan, you will be tempted to drive and alcohol distorts judgment. Just have a safe way of getting home to bed.
4. Don?t make the mistake of thinking a train journey from London will get rid of alcohol. The police do monitor stations to catch drivers as they leave the car park after their journey home.
5. Don?t sleep in your car. I have known drivers prosecuted for being drunk in charge because they were found asleep in their cars in car parks. It is very risky, particularly if you sleep in the front seat. It leads to the same disqualification.
6. Expect a breath test at any time. If you are involved in an accident, whether it's your fault or not, you will be tested.
7. It is a myth to think you can drive a short distance over the limit and not be prosecuted.
8. In difficult weather conditions you are expected to drive to suit the circumstances. Dangerous driving is increasingly being prosecuted and carries a long disqualification and imprisonment.
9. Leave plenty of time because journeys take longer in winter. Speed and accidents do go together.
10. Mobile phone use is viewed seriously by the courts. Texting your Christmas present list whilst driving is to be avoided! It can lead to a dangerous driving charge.
11. Check your insurance documents. I meet many clients who misunderstood their cover believing wrongly that they were covered for driving other vehicles. Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence which means mistake is no defence. It also carries 6 points, taking you instantly towards 12 and disqualification.
12. Young drivers in their probationary period (first two years) need to be aware that if they pick up 6 points their licences will automatically be revoked. It's easily done with two modest speeding offences carrying 3 points each.