# Blimey

Drunk driver 12 times over limit: Motorist held by Bedfordshire police is drunkest caught this year

….
Freedom of Information request to Britain’s 44 police forces which revealed that the driver who had consumed the most alcohol this year was more than 12 times over the limit. Bedfordshire Police said the motorist had a reading of 423mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – 388mg over the 35mg legal limit.

But hang on a minute: the limit is 80 isn’t it?

## 12 thoughts on “Blimey”

1. Mixing up milli- and micro- and blood and breath limits.

In the UK, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

2. And, of course, that is “UK minus Scotland” – or will be come 5th Dec, when the limit here drops to 80 mg per 100 mil of blood.

Just in time for the traditional, illegal, police stop-and-breathalize campaign.

3. Yup, sorry, that’s what I get for typing before my first caffeine of the morning.

4. If there are three specified limits depending on the sample provided, do you get “best of three” as the accused, or does the state get the best of three?

5. “If you keep lowering the legal limit, the magnitude of “times over” tales will increase.”

Indeed.

Thus leading to yells of “It’s even worse than we thought”, further lowering of the limit, and so on ad infinitum – or rather, in this case, ad nihil.

It’s a feature, not a bug, of course.

6. Noel Scoper is right. Typical innumerate journalists with no sense of scale as per usual. According to Wikipedia, the multiplier from breath alcohol to blood alcohol is 2100. So 423mg/100ml equates to 2100 × 4.23 kg·m^-3 in SI units. This is 8.88 tonnes of alcohol per cubic meter of blood or 888%. Assuming they meant μg then that’s still a BAC of 888mg/100ml, 11 times over the limit. This is a BAC of nearly 0.9% which is fatal for most people. Therefore I would hazard a guess that the linearity of the multiplier breaks down for extremely high levels of intoxication or else this guy has super-powers. Even at a third of that you’re absolutely hammered.

7. @bloke in Germany.

You blow three times (once back at the police station), and they take the lowest.

As such, I was done at 108, rather than 113…

DK

8. @ Bloke in Costa Rica
I remember many years ago, when I was too young to drink alcohol, my father expressing mild surprise at the ability of some guy we met on holiday to down a bottle of whisky every night. There is such a thing as acquired tolerance.
Also human tolerances vary even without building it up by drinking a little bit too much then a bit more then a bit more over several years.

9. Yes, that’s all true, but even so a 0.89% BAC is utterly stupendous. Usually that sort of level is only recorded post-mortem. It’s also the case that as alcoholism progresses tolerance can go down as the liver becomes less effective at metabolising the ethanol. Long-term heavy drinkers have strategies to maintain outward appearances as well, so they can appear to ‘handle it’ better even though the physiological effects are the same.

10. An Australian policeman once told me that the highest they had ever recorded there was 1.2%. “He should have been dead”. No verification of truth from me on that.