Two portions of Christmas cake ‘enough to put you over the drink-driving limit’

Two portions of Christmas cake ‘enough to put you over the drink-driving limit’
Two portions of Christmas cake ‘enough to put you over the drink-driving limit’

With Christmas comes the usual festive push to crackdown on drink driving and warnings about how much booze is too much before getting behind the wheel.

But now a new report has suggested that drivers need to think about what they eat as much as what they drink to avoid falling foul of the law.

Being caught over the limit carries serious penalties – up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine. And recent figures show drink-drive related deaths and injuries jumped to a four-year high in 2016, with more than 9,000 people killed or seriously injured in drink-drive incidents.

UK drink-drive limit

England, Wales and Northern Ireland: 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood

Scotland: 50mg/100ml

The new report suggests that as well as traditional drinks some festive menus could include enough alcohol to push drivers over the limit.

The research by All Car Leasing looked closer into the most popular foods at Christmas that contain traces of alcohol and used popular internet recipes to determine how many units are in each food.

Read more: What is the UK drink-drive limit and what are the punishments for breaking it?

Among the festive favourites laced with booze were:

  • Bloody Mary prawn cocktail – 0.34 units
  • Chicken liver parfait with brandy – 0.1 units
  • Glazed carrots – 0.1 units
  • “Drunken” brussel sprouts – 1.5 units
  • Red wine gravy – 1.9 units
  • Cranberry and port sauce – 0.3 units
  • Christmas cake with brandy butter – 1.15 units
  • Christmas fruit cake – 0.33 units
  • Traditional mince pies – 0.14 units
  • Chocolate truffles – 0.04 units

While you’d have to have an iron constitution and massive stomach to tackle all that in one sitting (especially cake with brandy butter) the research also points out that many Britons will enjoy a single drink with their meal, which in combination with the boozy food could push them over the limit.

For example, a 125ml glass of wine contains 2.1 units, a bottle of beer 1.1 units, a glass of Champagne or prosecco 1.5 units and a serving of mulled wine 2.1 units.

Drink driving food
Picture: Cate Gillon

Read more: If I eat an entire pack of mince pies, will I be over the drink drive limit?

Ronnie Lawson-Jones, digital marketing manager at All Car Leasing, commented: “We appreciate eating one portion of a certain food from the menu won’t take an individual over the drink-drive limit, but when a person counts all the units in one sit down meal accompanied by a drink, without thinking will be over the drink drive limit.

“Remember this doesn’t apply for those living in Scotland, as on 5th December 2014 Scotland applied stricter alcohol limits for drivers, which is considered a lot less than the UK’S drink-drive limit.

“Whilst this was done as a light-hearted study, we felt people may want to know that some foods could add to their alcohol intake more than first thought.”

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