Sussex Police have released shocking dashcam footage of an East Sussex resident who was found to be nearly three times over the drink-drive limit. The 41-year old teacher of Bexhill, was reported to police when members of the public noticed a white Vauxhall Corsa repeatedly clipping the kerb on the A259 Marsh Road at rush hour on April 4th. Shortly after the initial call, the same vehicle was reported for driving erratically and subsequently crashing into a parked Audi A4. The driver of the Corsa reversed and drove off, before stopping further down the road. Fortunately, nobody was injured by the drunk driver’s actions.

The entire journey was captured on the offender’s own dash cam, which shows the driver mount several kerbs over the course of several miles, nearly missing roadwork cones and reaching speeds of up to 51mph in residential areas.

The driver of the Corsa failed a roadside breath test, with 94mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath and was subsequently charged with driving whilst above the legal limit. The legal limit is 35mcg. She was also charged with failing to stop after a road traffic collision.

PC Nathan Langley, of the Polegate Roads Policing Unit: “We hope by releasing this footage that people will take note. If you’ve ever considered drink-driving, think again. Or, if you have done it before, don’t even think about doing it again; the next time could be your last.

“Every year, people’s lives are destroyed by drink-driving. In Sussex in 2017, a total of 13 people were killed and a further 65 were seriously injured in drink-driving related collisions.

Louise Willard appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (April 25) and pleaded guilty to both offences. She was disqualified from driving for two years and must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, she was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.

What is the legal drink-drive limit?

The maximum BAC (blood alcohol content) limit in England & Wales is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. However, there are various reasons why an evidential sample of blood or urine may be used instead of a suspect’s breath. For blood, the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. If a urine sample is requested, the limit is 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

Prior to April 2015, motorists under investigation for drink driving had the option to replace their breath specimen with a specimen of blood or urine. Therefore, if the alcohol levels of a person’s breath registered between 36 – 50 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, an individual would be given the option of replacing their breath sample with an alternative blood or urine sample (the “statutory option”). This prevents defendants from ‘sobering up’ between providing their breath samples at the roadside and having their blood or urine sample taken for analysis, which by law requires a healthcare professional to take the sample at the police station.

What is the penalty for drink-driving?

Drink driving laws in the UK are strictly enforced and the penalties can be severe. In the UK, it is illegal to:

  • Drive or attempt to drive with excess alcohol (while exceeding the legal limit)
  • Be in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol (while exceeding the legal limit)
  • Drive or attempt to drive while unfit through drink (alcohol) or drugs
  • Be in charge of a motor vehicle whilst unfit through drink (alcohol) or drugs
  • Fail to co-operate with a preliminary roadside breath test when required to do so
  • Fail to provide an evidential specimen (blood, breath or urine) for analysis while driving or attempting to drive a vehicle
  • Fail to provide an evidential specimen (blood, breath or urine) for analysis while in charge of a vehicle
  • Fail to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of blood taken while that person was incapable of consenting.

The penalty imposed for a drink-driving charge can vary, depending on the crime itself and the levels of alcohol in the driver’s system.

The minimum disqualification period available for a drink driving offence is 12 months, which can be reduced to 9 months with a Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course. As well as being disqualified for 12-16 months, those who have a BAC between 36 and 59 will also receive a Band C fine – which is equivalent to 150% of your weekly income.

Offenders who provide a breath specimen containing between 60-89micrograms of alcohol per 100millilitres of breath will also land a Band C fine – which may be substituted for a low-level community order. These offenders will also receive a driving ban of between 17 and 22 months. An example of a low-level community order would be a curfew requirement for a few weeks.

Those who provide a breath specimen of between 90-119 µg% will be disqualified from driving from 23 to 28 months.  They could also receive a medium or high-level community order. An example of a medium level community order is 80 – 150 hours of unpaid work.

Blowing more than 120µg%, even as a first time offender, will land you with a custodial sentence of at least 12 weeks and a high-level community order e.g. 150 – 300 hours of unpaid work or a curfew requirement for 4 – 12 months.

A previous conviction for drink driving within 10 years will increase the minimum disqualification period to three years.

Those who provide a breath reading of more than 87.5µg% are classed as ‘High-Risk Offenders’. They must undertake and pass a DVLA medical before having their driving licence reinstated. 

Watch what driving drunk looks like