April 2016 - Motoring law update

Preliminary Impairment Test - Form MG DD/F Version 6.0

New form - March 2016.


Victim Surcharge - increased surcharge - 8th April 2016

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Surcharge)(Amendment) Order 2016 provides that from 8th April 2016, the surcharge applicable to fines will be £30 - £170. The increased surcharge does not apply where a court deals with a person for a single offence committed before 8th April 2016, nor where there is more than one offence and at least one of those offences was committed before 8th April 2016. Sentencing Council information here.


The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016

In force 22nd April 2016.

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD 16) sets out what traffic signs in Great Britain must look like, what they mean and how they may be placed and illuminated. TSRGD 16 brings together, with changes, provisions previously set out in a number of instruments. In doing so, they provide a traffic sign regime that is less prescriptive than its predecessor.


The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (New Method of Instituting Proceedings) (Specification of Relevant Prosecutors) Order 2016

In force 14th April 2016. Regulation here.

Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”) gives certain prosecutors the power to bring criminal proceedings by written charge. This includes any persons specified by order by the Secretary of State. The Order specifies the Environment Agency, the Natural Resources Body for Wales, local authorities, train and certain tramway operators and TV Licensing/the BBC as relevant prosecutors for the purposes of section 29. This allows them to make use of the new procedure for trial by single justice on the papers for low level offending.

N.b. Section 29(4) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 is still not in force.


Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2016

In force 4th April 2016. Guide here. Rules here and here.

In rule 2.2 the definition of ‘live link’ is amended.    

Rule 3.24 is amended to set the time limits within which a trial in the Crown Court must begin, in exercise of the power conferred on the Criminal Procedure Rules by section 77 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

Rules 4.3 and 4.4 are amended to provide for service on the court officer of an application to a High Court judge for permission to serve a draft indictment.

Rule 10.3 is added to supply the procedure on an application to a High Court judge for permission to serve a draft indictment, in exercise of the power conferred on the Criminal Procedure Rules by section 2(6) of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933, as amended by section 82 of the Deregulation Act 2015.

Rules 17.3 and 17.5 are amended to clarify the procedure on an application to the court for an order under section 7 of the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act 1879.

Rule 21.4 is amended to require a defendant (i) to give notice of the introduction of evidence of his or her own bad character, and (ii) in the Crown Court, at the same time to give notice of any requested direction to the jury about the significance of that evidence.

Rule 24.3 is amended to provide for the identification of issues by the defendant at the beginning of trial in a magistrates’ court.

Rule 25.9 is amended to provide for the identification of issues by the defendant at the beginning of trial in the Crown Court. Rule 25.12 is amended to clarify the circumstances in which written witness statements must be read aloud in the Crown Court.

Rule 34.7 is amended to include explicit provision for applications for rulings during preparation for an appeal hearing in the Crown Court. Rule 34.11 is amended to include explicit provision for the conduct of case management by a judge without justices of the peace before such an appeal hearing begins, in exercise of the power conferred on the Criminal Procedure Rules by section 74 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

Rule 45.3 is amended, and a note to the rule added, to draw attention to the application of time limits to the court’s powers to make some costs orders. Rules 45.8, 45.9 and 45.10 are amended to supply the procedure where the court requires assistance in assessing costs under one of those rules.

The rules in the current Part are substituted and rearranged, with some rules added, and some amended, to include new rules about production orders, search warrants and applications for the return of seized property, made in exercise of various powers recently conferred on the Criminal Procedure Rules. The new powers are contained in Schedule 1 to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, Schedule 5 to the Terrorism Act 2000, section 352 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and section 59 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, all of which are amended by section 82 of the Deregulation Act 2015; and in sections 157 and 160 of the Extradition Act 2003, amended by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The current rules about (i) orders for the retention of fingerprints (Section 5 of the new Part 47 rules), (ii) investigation anonymity orders (Section 6 of the new Part) and (iii) investigation approval orders (Section 7) are rearranged and renumbered but otherwise unchanged.

Rule 50.21 is amended to redefine the time limit for a respondent’s notice in reply to an extradition appeal to the High Court.


Claim back costs from cases in the criminal courts

NTT legal costs guides updated here.





Victim Surcharge 2016

An offender fined for any offence must pay a so-called "victim surcharge." Historically, it was £15. In 2012, it increased to £20-£120. The actual amount payable is 10% of the fine, rounded up or down to the nearest pound.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Surcharge)(Amendment) Order 2016 provides that from 8th April 2016, the surcharge applicable to fines will be £30-£170. The increased surcharge does not apply where a court deals with a person for a single offence committed before 8th April 2016, nor where there is more than one offence and at least one of those offences was committed before 8th April 2016.

Revenue raised from the Victim Surcharge is used to fund victim services through the Victim and Witness General Fund.

The following schedule applies to adult offenders:

March 2016 - Motoring law update

Sentencing Council - Allocation guideline - Determining whether cases should be dealt with by a magistrates’ court or the Crown Court

To be used from 1 March 2016. Revised definitive guideline on determining whether cases should be dealt with by a magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. The new guideline came into effect on 1 March 2016.

1. In general, either way offences should be tried summarily unless:

  • the outcome would clearly be a sentence in excess of the court’s powers for the offence(s) concerned after taking into account personal mitigation and any potential reduction for a guilty plea; or
  • for reasons of unusual legal, procedural or factual complexity, the case should be tried in the Crown Court. This exception may apply in cases where a very substantial fine is the likely sentence. Other circumstances where this exception will apply are likely to be rare and case specific; the court will rely on the submissions of the parties to identify relevant cases.

2. In cases with no factual or legal complications the court should bear in mind its power to commit for sentence after a trial and may retain jurisdiction notwithstanding that the likely sentence might exceed its powers.

3. Cases may be tried summarily even where the defendant is subject to a Crown Court Suspended Sentence Order or Community Order.

4. All parties should be asked by the court to make representations as to whether the case is suitable for summary trial. The court should refer to definitive guidelines (if any) to assess the likely sentence for the offence in the light of the facts alleged by the prosecution case, taking into account all aspects of the case including those advanced by the defence, including any personal mitigation to which the defence wish to refer.

Where the court decides that the case is suitable to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court, it must warn the defendant that all sentencing options remain open and, if the defendant consents to summary trial and is convicted by the court or pleads guilty, the defendant may be committed to the Crown Court for sentence.

Committal for sentence

There is ordinarily no statutory restriction on committing an either way case for sentence following conviction. The general power of the magistrates’ court to commit to the Crown Court for sentence a er a nding that a case is suitable for summary trial and/or conviction continues to be available where the court is of the opinion ‘that the o ence or the combination of the o ence and one or more o ences associated with it was so serious that the Crown Court should, in the court’s opinion, have the power to deal with the o ender in any way it could deal with him if he had been convicted on indictment’



R v Boyle Transport (Northern Ireland) Ltd [2016] EWCA Crim 19

On 25th February 2016 the Court of Appeal gave judgment in Boyle Transport (Northern Ireland) Limited v. R and R v. Patrick Boyle and Mark Boyle [2016] EWCA Crim 19, in which it quashed substantial confiscation and enforcement receivership orders. The case is an important one in relation to piercing the corporate veil in confiscation cases, and is the most detailed consideration by the Court of Appeal in this context of the general principles set out by the Supreme Court in Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited [2013] 2 AC 415.


The Driving Licences (Exchangeable Licences) Order 2016. SI 2016 No. 277

This Order (in force: 23rd March 2016) designates Switzerland under section 108(2)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as making satisfactory provision for the issue of certain classes of driving licence. This enables a person holding one of those licences to exchange it for a corresponding British licence. The licences affected are those issued in Switzerland authorising the driving of large goods vehicles and large buses (with or without a trailer). The Order provides that a Swiss licence authorising the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission is exchangeable for a British licence authorising the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission only.



Parlimentary written question.

Douglas Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to update the Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014, so as to reduce the amount of a drug that can be detected in blood for the purposes of the definition of that offence.

Andrew Jones: The Department is evaluating the new specified limits drug driving offence and a final report from the researcher is due at the end of 2016. The Department will consider its findings and assess whether there is any requirement to change the legislation, but currently there are no plans to amend the regulations. Thanks to the tougher law, police are catching and convicting more drug drivers.



The DVLA has published this guide - which includes the GMC Guidelines:

1. The driver is legally responsible for informing the DVLA about such a condition or treatment. However, if a patient has such a condition, you should explain to the patient:

a) That the condition may affect their ability to drive (if the patient is incapable of understanding this advice, for example because of dementia, you should inform the DVLA immediately) and;

b) That they have a legal duty to inform the DVLA about the condition.

2. If a patient refuses to accept the diagnosis, or the effect of the condition on their ability to drive, you can suggest that they seek a second opinion, and help arrange for them to do so. You should advise the patient not to drive in the meantime.

3. If a patient continues to drive when they may not be to do so, you should make every reasonable effort to persuade them to stop. As long as the patient agrees, you may discuss your concerns with their relatives, friends or carers.

4. If you do not manage to persuade the patient to stop driving, or you discover that they are continuing to drive against your advice, you should contact the DVLA immediately and disclose any relevant medical information, in con dence, to the medical adviser.

5. Before contacting the DVLA, you should try to inform the patient of your decision to disclose personal information. You should also inform the patient in writing once you have done so.


House of Commons Transport Committee - Road Traffic Law Enforcement

Seecond Report of 2015-2016

"Exceeding the speed limit was a contributory factor in 254 fatal accidents in 2014, 16% of all fatal accidents, as well as 1,199 serious accidents; this was the fourth most prevalent contributory factor in fatal collisions.29 is is distinct from “travelling too fast for conditions”, a factor in 169 fatal accidents (11% of all fatal accidents) in 2014, which does not necessarily imply exceeding the speed limit. Exceeding the speed limit can be dealt with by a warning, an FPN, a diversionary course (the National Speed Awareness Court, NSAC), or court proceedings. With the increasing use of this course, FPNs for speeding have more than halved from a 2005 peak of 1.98 million to 743,100 in 2014.30 e use of the NSAC has more than doubled over the same period."


Smoking in cars with children: Police 'cannot' enforce ban

According to the BBC, "No fines or court summonses were issued in the first three months of the law, a BBC Radio 5 live freedom of information (FOI) request suggests. The Police Federation said there was no "physical ticket" to enforce the law. The government said it was working with police and councils on arrangements."


Improvement to Crown Court DCS form

An improvement to the Digital Case System (DCS) means that advocates are able to make online edits to the pre-trial and preparation hearing (PTPH) form.

This means that advocates can carry on working within the DCS. The previous way of working required the user to download the form, edit, save and then upload back into the DCS.

Likewise, the indictment can now be edited online within the DCS by prosecution advocates. However, this applies solely to those applications to amend made on the day of the hearing.

Details here.



February 2016 - Motoring law update

R v Taylor [2016] UKSC 5


Under section 12A of the Theft Act 1968 the offence of aggravated vehicle taking is committed where a person has committed the ‘basic offence’ of taking a vehicle without authority, and “owing to the driving of the vehicle, an accident occurred by which injury was caused to any person” (s12A (2) (b)). If the injury is fatal, the offence carries a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

On 23 June 2012, the appellant and another man called Marriott took a van belonging to Marriot’s employer, without the latter’s consent. While driving it, he collided with a scooter on a bend in a narrow country lane. The driver of the scooter was killed, and the appellant was later found to be over the drink drive limit and uninsured. The appellant was charged jointly with Mr Marriott with aggravated vehicle taking contrary to s12A of the Theft Act 1968 and with causing the death of the scooter driver whilst uninsured contrary to s3ZB of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The Crown accepted that there was no fault in the manner of the appellant’s driving. A Not Guilty verdict was therefore directed on the Road Traffic Act count, in accordance with the decision in R v Hughes [2013] WLR 2461. The judge held that fault also had to be proved in relation to the accident on the aggravated vehicle taking count; a decision which the Crown appealed.

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, relying on R v Marsh [1997] 1 Cr App R 67, in which it was held that no element of fault was required in the offence of aggravated vehicle taking. But it certified a question of law of general public importance for consideration by the Supreme Court, namely “Is an offence contrary to s12A (1) and 2(b) of the Theft Act 1968 committed when, following the basic offence and before recovery of the vehicle, the defendant drove the vehicle, and without fault in the manner of his driving the vehicle was involved in an accident which caused injury to a person”.


The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal, holding that the driving must have been at fault for a person to be convicted of aggravated vehicle taking under s12A of the Theft Act 1968. Lord Sumption gives the judgment.


The reasoning in R v Hughes cannot be distinguished, because the offences under s12A(2)(b) of the Theft Act 1968 and s3ZB of the Road Traffic Act 1988 are both drafted in terms which require a direct causal connection between the driving and the injury.

Strict liability is typically imposed where the enactment is regulatory or “quasi-criminal”. Aggravated vehicle taking under s12A is neither: it is a serious crime, exposing defendants to the possibility of much longer maximum sentences. It imposes strict liability only to the extent that anyone who was party to the taking of the vehicle (and in the immediate vicinity at the time of the injury) commits the offence, whether or not he was driving at the time. The appellant’s driving explained how the vehicle came to be in the place where the accident occurred, but cannot be said to have caused it.

The test is as set out in R v Hughes: there must be “at least some act or omission in the control of the car which involves some element of fault, whether amounting to careless/inconsiderate driving or not, and which contributes in some more than minimal way to the death”



Crader v Director of Public Prosecutions [2015] EWHC 3553 (Admin)

Mr Justice Blake - "Looking at the document that was before the justice as a whole it seems to me there were sufficient indications on its face that it was purporting to be a s.20(1) certificate made with the authority of the Chief Constable. It was a document emanating from the Hampshire Constabulary by a person who occupied a role as prosecutions clerk within that Constabulary, and that person was cognisant of the requirements of section 20 and was certifying in accordance with those requirements. 14. In those circumstances, section 20(7), far from assisting the appellant to impliedly insert a further requirement needed on the face of the certificate, demonstrates that the presumption that the certificate is what it purports to be applies unless or until the contrary is shown, and that could only be shown if someone had raised that as an issue, which was not the case here.

It was always open to anyone, the appellant at his trial or by correspondence if he was not going to attend, or the Justice themselves as to have enquired further. Here was no requirement on them to do so. If they were satisfied that they had a certificate purporting be a s.20 certificate. The reference in the case to the certificate appearing to be authentic means that the justices considered that it was what purported to be. They were correct in reaching that conclusion, accordingly, I dismiss this appeal."


News: Drug drive arrests on the rise

"Drug drive arrests have soared by up to 800% in a year after the government introduced tough new laws to catch and convict offenders, according to initial figures from police forces.

A new easy-to-use roadside swab test which can catch drug offenders was introduced on 2 March last year (2015). To mark the first anniversary, the government is launching a new advertising campaign targeted at young men who are most likely to drug drive – to make it clear that if you drug drive, you’re more likely to be caught and convicted as a result of the roadside swab."


January 2016 - Motoring law update

1.  R. v Hogan [2015] EWCA Crim 1984

HHJ Morris - "The appellant was convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol. On 3rd June 2015 he was sentenced by the judge to 2 years' imprisonment for the causing serious injury by dangerous driving and 4 months' imprisonment for driving with excess alcohol to run concurrently. He was disqualified from driving for 6 years and until an extended driving test had been passed.

In Geale [2012] EWCA Crim 2663, this court said:

    "We respectfully agree that the main purpose of disqualification is to protect the public from the risk posed by an offender driving, and we agree that, where that risk is very low, a lengthy period of disqualification may be inappropriate, particularly where, as here, the offender is dependent upon driving for his livelihood and hence a lengthy period of driving disqualification will put particular financial strains upon him."

    However, such risk is not the only relevant criterion for the assessment of length of the disqualification period. In addition, there is or may be an element of punishment; as is apparent from the fact that, even where the future risk is nil, the statutory provisions require a 12 month minimum period of disqualification. Furthermore, paragraph 30 of the Definitive Guideline makes clear that 'disqualification is a mandatory part of the sentence, subject to the usual very limited exception, and therefore an important element of the overall punishment for the offence.' When considering whether the length of the period disqualification is manifestly excessive, one therefore has to consider it in the context of the sentence imposed and the ancillary orders as a whole."

We bear in mind there should be a punitive element to disqualification and this was a bad piece of driving aggravated by the consumption of alcohol. However, we agree with [counsel] that there is nothing in the appellant's record to suggest this was other than an isolated offence or that a disqualification of this length is necessary for the protection of the public.

We have therefore come to the conclusion that the length of disqualification was manifestly excessive. In the circumstances, we quash the disqualification and substitute a disqualification of 3 years. The requirement to pass an extended driving test remains. To that extent alone this appeal is allowed."

2.  Alexander v Procurator Fiscal [2016] HCJAC 3

Lord Calloway - "At the Sheriff Court in Edinburgh, the appellant was convicted of dangerous driving contrary to section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The libel was that the dangerous driving consisted in the action of falling asleep on when driving in Longniddry, causing the appellant’s car to cross the central reservation and to collide with an oncoming car, causing damage to both cars and injury to the passengers in the other car.

The act of driving, which is deemed to be dangerous, still requires to be voluntary. Involuntary actions cannot form the basis for a conviction. Once a driver is asleep, his actions cannot be said to be voluntary, as he lacks consciousness.

However, the act of falling asleep, in the absence of special circumstances, is a voluntary act and, when it occurs in the context of driving, will usually be regarded as dangerous. That is because drivers who fall asleep:

“are always aware that they are feeling sleepy, ... there is always a feeling of profound sleepiness and they reach a point where they are fighting sleep ...”.

Although that is a passage of testimony quoted from R v Wilson [2011] 1 Cr App R (S) 11 (at p 13), it coincides with human experience (see AG’s Reference No. 1 of 2009 [2009] 2 Cr App R (S) 742 at 745; Kay v Butterworth (1945) 61 TLR 452). It does not require formal proof. A jury is entitled to infer, from the fact that a driver falls asleep, that, prior to falling asleep, he or she was aware of doing so and ignored the obvious dangers in so doing.

There may be special circumstances which make falling asleep involuntary. These include the onset of a medical condition, such as sleep apnoea, narcolepsy or a hypoglycaemic episode (eg Farrell v Stirling 1975 SLT (Sh Ct) 71; Macleod v Mathieson 1993 SCCR 488). However, a driver who knows of his medical condition, and can foresee that he may fall asleep, will be precluded from relying on that condition. It is for an accused to put any special circumstances in issue, and thereafter for the Crown to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the act of driving was nevertheless voluntary because the special circumstance ought to have been foreseen (Hill v Baxter [1958] 1 QB 279)."

3) Hughes v Pendragon Sable Ltd t/a Porsche Centre Bolton [2016] EWCA Civ 18

Mr Justice Cranston - "This appeal raises a number of not unfamiliar problems in the sale of goods: had the parties entered an agreement to agree, rather than an agreement for sale, because the price and specification for the goods were to be agreed later; was there a collateral contract, overriding the terms of the standard-form sale contract the parties signed; and what was the measure of damages when the seller failed to deliver what were goods in such high demand that substitute goods were not available?

In my view there was a collateral contract that if Porsche supplied a vehicle to Pendragon it would be allocated to Mr Hughes. The email of 23 March 2011 is a clear expression that that was what had been agreed, which Mr Mansfield accepted in his evidence. There is ample authority that the courts may treat a statement intended to have contractual effect as a contract collateral to the main transaction, in particular where one party enters the main contract because the statement is an assurance on a certain point. Mr Hughes was ordering the 911 GT3 RS from Pendragon and paying the deposit on 18 March 2011 because of the assurance that he would be first in the queue if Porsche allocated one to the dealership.

I would allow this appeal and award Mr Hughes damages of £35,000.”

4.  A consultation on changes to the Fixed Penalty Notice and penalty points for the use of a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving

This consultation seeks views on proposals announced in the Statement, namely

Increasing the penalty levels and Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for the offence of using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving. Hand-held mobile phone use whilst driving is a dangerous activity which increases the risk of a collision.

This consultation considers proposals for increasing the FPN level from £100 to £150 for all drivers as well as increasing the penalty points from 3 to 4 for non-HGV drivers and from 3 to 6 points for those that hold a Large Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence who commit the offence whilst driving a HGV.

5.  A Bill to amend the Road Traffic Act 1988 to lower the prescribed limit of alcohol in relation to driving or being in charge of a vehicle; and for connected purposes.

The Bill is at the 2nd reading House of Lords stage. Proposed amendments:

(1) In section 11(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (interpretation of sections 4 to 10), the definition of “the prescribed limit” is amended as follows.

“(a) 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath"

“(b) 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood"

“(c) 67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine"



Doncaster Crown Court

Doncaster Crown Court

College Road
South Yorkshire

Email: enquiries@sheffield.crowncourt.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0114 281 2400

Daily listing: here

Xhibit: here




There are still some situations in which you will need to instruct a solicitor as well as a barrister, but for the vast majority of motoring cases the public access scheme allows you to go directly to an expert barrister for advice and representation.

If you need representation at Doncaster Crown Court then please call Andrew Thompson on 0113 4677946 or 0207 7887993.

Cases undertaken

  • Trial
  • Committal for sentence
  • Appeal against conviction
  • Appeal against sentence
  • Application to remove driving disqualification
  • Death by dangerous driving
  • Death by careless driving
  • Dangerous driving
  • Motoring offences


Doncaster Magistrates Court

Doncaster Magistrates' Court

Doncaster Magistrates' Court
The Law Courts
College Road
South Yorkshire

Email: sy-doncmccrtoffice@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 01302 366 711



There are still some situations in which you will need to instruct a solicitor as well as a barrister, but for the vast majority of motoring cases the public access scheme allows you to go directly to an expert barrister for advice and representation.


If you need representation at Doncaster Magistrates Court then please call Andrew Thompson on 0113 4677946 or 0207 7887993.


  • Motoring offences
  • Trial
  • Committal for sentence
  • Application to remove driving disqualification
  • Death by dangerous driving
  • Death by careless driving
  • Dangerous driving

What is a "public place" in the context of the Road Traffic Act 1988?

This is a matter of fact to be determined by the court. The following have been held to be "public places":

  • The car park of a pub; Vannet v Burns (1988)
  • A hotel driveway; Dunn v Keane (1976)
  • A multi-storey NCP car park; Bowman v DPP (1991)
  • A hospital car park; DPP v Greenwood (1997)
  • The car park of a car dealership; May v DPP (2005)
  • A field used for point-to-point racing; Collinson (1931)
  • A field used for parking at an agricultural show; Paterson v Ogilvey (1957)
  • A privately owned caravan site; DPP v Vivier (1991)
  • Freight immigration lanes at a dockyard; DPP v Coulman (1993)
  • A school playground; Rodger v Normand (1994)

The following have been held not to be "public places":

  • Privately owned land next to a private club; Pugh v Knipe (1972)
  • A community centre car park; Havell v DPP (1993)
  • A company car park used by staff and customers; Spence (1999)
  • An internal roadway at a University campus; Cowan v DPP (2013)

Alcohol absorption, distribution and elimination


Food intake slows the absorption of alcohol and decreases the maximum BAC but it does not substantially prolong the peak BAC. In tests, regardless of stomach condition, the average time to reach maximum BAC was 41 minutes. In other tests, under realistic social conditions, the average time to maximum BAC was 12 minutes. 

Carbonated drinks tend to cause a more rapid absorption of alcohol and increase the initial BAC.

Gastric bypass surgery can substantially increase the rate of alcohol absorption.

Alcohol is not significantly absorbed by inhalation through the lungs or diffusion through the skin. Only negligible amounts of alcohol are absorbed after excessive use of alcohol based hand sanitiser.

The greater the concentration of alcohol, the more rapidly absorption will take place with a higher and earlier maximum BAC.


The distribution of alcohol throughout the body is:

Stomach/small intestine > Liver > Right side of heart > Lungs > Left side of heart > Body tissue (inc. brain)  > Right side of heart


The rate of alcohol elimination can be increased by the chronic use of alcohol.

Food intake not only slows the absorption of alcohol but increases the elimination rate.

A high protein diet increases the rate of elimination.

Women generally have a higher rate of alcohol elimination than do men.

For healthy individuals who drink occasionally, it is generally accepted that the average elimination rate from blood is 15 ug per hour.

Source: Wigmore on Alcohol, Courtroom Alcohol Toxicology for the Medicolegal Professional. 2011.

Driver error cited in more than 117,000 road traffic accidents

Analysis by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has found that human factors continue to significantly outweigh other reasons for crashes on British roads, and have called again for drivers to look on improving driving skills as part of their lifelong personal development.

The figures from the Department of Transport show that in 2014 driver/rider error or reaction were cited as contributory factors in 74% of accidents, involving more than 117,000 casualties. Some 20,830 of these were in London alone.

Police can cite up to six factors for the cause of each accident they report.

The second highest factor was ‘behaviour or inexperience’ which was cited as a contributory factor in 26% of accidents, accounting for more than 40,000 casualties. In London the number was 9,508.

The main contributory factors were (reference 1):

Contributory factor reported in accident/Number of casualties/Percentage of accidents cited in

* Driver-rider error or reaction/117,524/74%

* Behaviour or inexperience/40,778/26%

* Injudicious action/39,354/25%

* Impairment or distraction/21,916/14%

* Road environment contributed/20,253/13%

* Vehicle defects/3,230/2%

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “People often blame their car, the road, or the other driver for the accidents and near misses that they have. These figures show that in the vast majority of cases, it’s the driver or rider themselves who is to blame.

“Changing attitudes is the key factor when it comes to reducing the numbers of casualties on our roads. People must accept responsibility for enhancing their own skills and recognising their limitations. The first step towards that is to think about advanced training and the right now you can get a free IAM taster session at www.iam.org.uk/lovedriving

He added: “It is not enough to leave people to their own devices once they have passed their test. Like so many other areas of life extra coaching pays dividends – and for a driver or rider, that means keeping their skills fresh by continuous assessment.”