Nearly 1 in 2 Walloons count the number of drinks they are permitted before driving
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    Nearly 1 in 2 Walloons count the number of drinks they are permitted before driving

    © Belga
    The study by Vias has a number of alarming findings, such as some 15% of Walloons and 11% of Brusselers limit their alcohol consumption before driving, but do not take into account the legal limit.
    © Belga

    Almost one in two Walloons (45%) count the number of alcoholic drinks they are allowed, before getting behind the wheel. This emerges from a recent study by Vias, published on Thursday. Although their intentions in this regard are good, the Belgian Institute for Road Safety, warns that it is “very dangerous to estimate the number of drinks you can have before reaching the legal limit.” This is because the amount of alcohol that your system can absorb will vary as between individuals. He warns that several people risk a nasty surprise when they are breathalyzed.

    The majority of Walloons surveyed (52%) consider that they can have two drinks before driving. Yet, the quantity of alcohol able to be consumed, before reaching the legal limit, depends on a number of parameters. These include the individual’s weight, the rate at which he or she drinks, prior absorption of alcohol by a meal before driving, and other factors. Vias stresses that simply counting the number of glasses, as described above, could prove to be dangerous.

    Moreover, 15% of Walloons and 11% of Brusselers limit their alcohol consumption before getting behind the wheel, but do not take into account the legal limit.

    The Vias study also finds that hosts are aware of their responsibility when receiving guests for parties they throw. Thus more than 9 out of 10 (93%) take steps to avoid their guests getting behind the wheel, when under the influence of alcohol. In Wallonia, one in two hosts offer their guests the opportunity to sleep at their accommodation, rather than driving home. The equivalent percentage is 36% in Brussels; a lower proportion, explained by better public transport provision.

    Vias also notes that the period between December to February generally has a lower number of accidents involving a driver under the influence of alcohol. This proves the efficiency of the so-called “Bob campaigns.” However, New Year weekend is still being viewed as a potential black spot. At New Year, from past records, some 24% of accidents involve a driver who has drunk too much. In absolute numbers, around 40 accidents due to alcohol have happened at New Year, compared to 20 at Christmas.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times