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Bad habits on the road

2. Read the text. Sum it up in 5 sentences. Use the topical vocabulary from the box.

The dangers of drinking and driving

25 March 2004

BBC

It is not the aim of this site to play down the risks of drinking and driving. Alcohol and motor vehicles represent a dangerous and potentially lethal cocktail. Although the figures have been falling steadily in recent years, each year in Britain over 400 people are killed in road accidents where excess alcohol is a factor. Thousands more are seriously injured. Being below the legal alcohol limit is no guarantee that your driving ability will not be impaired. At 50% above the limit, your chances of being involved in a fatal or serious injury accident are five times higher than those of a completely sober driver. Twice the legal limit, and that figure rises to twenty times.

Once you have had a few drinks, the only thing that will reduce your alcohol level is time, and plenty of time at that. Your body can only metabolise one unit of alcohol per hour (the equivalent of a half-pint of ordinary strength beer). After a heavy drinking session, you could still be over the limit the following morning, or even much later in the day. There are cases of people being convicted of drink-driving when they had not had a drink for twenty-four hours. Black coffee or hangover medicines might make you feel better, but they will not bring your alcohol level down any quicker.

And if you are so arrogant and thoughtless that you couldn't care less about endangering the lives of others, bear in mind that 60% of the deaths in drink-related accidents are of the drinking driver himself. Drinking and driving really does wreck lives, and the life it is most likely to wreck is your own.

The combination of highly visible public awareness programmes, rigorous enforcement of the current Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit and the application of the toughest penalties on conviction anywhere in the world, ensure that much has been achieved in the UK. Three is the decline in drink-drive fatalities over the last 25 years. Few, if any other countries in the world have achieved such success despite, in many cases, having lower BAC limits.

The late 1990s saw a halt to the decline in drink-drive fatalities and indeed a rise in drink-drive injuries. There is an urgent need for action to further reduce levels of drink-drive fatalities and injuries in the UK. We believe that:

  • additional countermeasures are needed to further reduce drink-drive fatalities and injuries in the UK;

  • these should be targeted against the hardcore of drink-drivers who are responsible for the majority of drink-drive accidents and should be in the areas of enforcement, penalties and education; 

  •  the UK would stand to save most lives through wider breath-testing powers for the police, the maintenance of harsh penalties and continued public education;

  • a reduction in the BAC limit would not have a significant effect upon drink-drive accidents which could not better be achieved through those countermeasures listed above. A lowering of the limit may also result in a loss of public support for drink drive law.

to play down the risks of drinking and driving;

to represent a dangerous and potentially lethal cocktail;

to be killed in road accidents where excess alcohol is a factor;

to be seriously injured;

to be below the legal alcohol limit;

to impair one’s driving ability;

to be involved in a fatal or serious injury accident;

a completely sober driver;

to reduce alcohol level /to bring one’s alcohol level down;

to metabolise alcohol;

a heavy drinking session;

to be over the limit the following morning;

arrogant and thoughtless drivers;

to endanger the lives of others;

the deaths in drink-related accidents;

to wreck lives;

the highly visible public awareness programmes;

rigorous enforcement of the current Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit;

the application of the toughest penalties on conviction anywhere in the world;

drink-drive fatalities;

to further reduce levels of drink-drive fatalities and injuries;

additional countermeasures;

to be targeted against the hardcore of drink-drivers;

to be responsible for the majority of drink-drive accidents;

to save lives through wider breath-testing powers for the police;

to maintain harsh penalties;

to continue public education.

3. Read the article. Sum it up in 5 sentences. Use the topical vocabulary from the box.

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