Many people don’t realise quite how long it takes for alcohol to pass through the body. Because of this, there is a very real risk that people who may never dream of drinking and driving are unaware that they could still be over the limit the following morning.

In a bid to raise awareness of this issue, the Morning After campaign was set up in 2006, with the aim to help people understand the risks of drink driving.

The campaign is based around a Morning After Calculator, which highlights how long it takes for alcohol to pass through the body. It is hoped that through using the calculator, people will get a better understanding of how the alcohol they drink affects their body, and what they need to do to help avoid a potentially life-threatening collision, or a drink driving conviction.

According to Department for Transport statistics, drink driving accounted for around 14% of all road deaths in 2012 and around 4% of all reported road casualties. The Association of Chief Police Officers stated that in 2011 there were more failed breath tests between 6am and 11am than during the hour before or after midnight. This highlights just how necessary it is to be aware of the effects and dangers of drinking and driving – even the following morning.

People drinking

The Morning After Calculator

The Morning After Calculator is designed to give people a rough idea of when it will be safe to drive the morning after drinking alcohol. It can also help calculate when to stop drinking alcohol on a night out if people know they have to drive the following day. However, it is not designed to help you work out how much you can drink on a night out before driving home. If you are planning on drinking at all on a night out then you should leave the car at home, and find a different way to get home safely.

The campaign advises that it can take around one hour per unit of alcohol for alcohol to pass through the body, although this number varies greatly depending on many factors. According to the NHS, these factors include:

  • your weight
  • your gender
  • your age
  • your metabolism
  • how much food you’ve eaten.

To use the Morning After Calculator you have to enter in all the drinks you consumed on a night out. This could be by trying to remember the following morning, although it is better if you use the calculator smartphone app, suitable for both Android and Apple devices, to keep track of what you drink as you go on a night out. The calculator stores the information and then is able to give you a rough calculation of when you should be safe to drive.

Don’t drink and drive

The Morning After campaign is designed to spread the word about the dangers of unwittingly drink driving the morning after a big night out.

As with all safety campaigns related to drink driving, the message from the Morning After campaign is that to stay safe behind the wheel you should avoid drinking and driving at all costs. The campaign advises that, “We’re not saying ‘don’t drink’, but we are saying ‘don’t drink anything if you are driving’ and ‘don’t drink heavily if you have to drive the following morning’.”

Don’t forget to try out the Morning After Calculator on your next night out. Have you used the calculator before? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.