Tom Atkinson was only 19, he wasn’t known for making the best decisions. One Wednesday night he’d make the final decision of his short life.
Tom and a friend had been out drinking and had trouble finding a taxi. Tom decided he’d be OK to drive - he wasn’t. Tom simply didn’t see the corner coming. His car left the road and collided with a tree. While his friend was fortunate enough to escape with his life, Tom was killed almost instantly.
Tom's sister, Eve
"I was sixteen when my brother died in a car accident..."
Tom's sister, Eve was given the news the day before her first GCSE exam, and it shattered her world. One of the hardest parts was not being able to see her brother to say goodbye: the funeral had to be a closed-casket affair due to the damage to Tom’s face and body. Eve is now older than her brother will ever be, and the loss is still keenly felt by those who knew and loved him.
Hair of the dog - The Honest Truth about alcohol
1 in five 5 deaths involve alcohol. Young men aged 16-24 are more likely to die from an alcohol related road traffic collision and are the cause of over 400 deaths each year. Alcohol:
- slows brain function and reaction times by 10 to 30%
- causes blurring and loss of vital peripheral vision and a 25% reduction in the ability to judge distance and speed
- causes over confidence and reduces the perception of risk
- for young people the accident risk increases after one drink; after two it doubles and after five it can have increased tenfold
- has exactly the same effect whether neat or with a mixer
What's The Honest Truth about the alcohol limit for driving?
There is no way of anyone knowing for sure that they’re safe to drive after drinking.
How your body reacts to alcohol can depend on loads of things like your: weight, gender, metabolism, current stress levels, whether you’ve eaten recently, how tired you are.
Find out more about the alcohol limits for driving and a whole range of other information at www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcohol-and-the-law/drink-driving-and-the-legal-alcohol-limit/.
What can you do to be a good driver?
- Good drivers are always in control and focused on the road. If you’ve had alcohol and you’re thinking about driving ask yourself, if I’m involved in a collision could I be 100% confident that I was in complete control?
- If you’re going out in a group regularly and alcohol is going to be involved, take it in turns to have a designated driver who avoids the booze altogether.
- Give a designated driver friend an incentive for being ‘the sober one’. Buy them soft drinks, give them petrol money and remind them that they’ll be in control of any photos!
- Plan nights out. If you can avoid driving completely if alcohol is involved, that’s great. Check out what local transport is available in advance.
- Create a rule with your friends that you’ll always look out for each other. If you think a friend is going to get behind the wheel after having too much, agree on how you’ll all handle that together if it happens.
- If you are going to have a drink and drive, think about eating, how long it’s been between your last drink and driving, how much you’ve had, and remember that despite all of that you can’t ever be completely sure.
- Hair of the dog? Alcohol can stay in your system for hours. Remember if you've been drinking the night before that you may not be safe to drive the next day.
What is the law?
Find out more about alcohol limits for driving at www.gov.uk/drink-drive-limit.
What is the punishment?
- Possibly a ban meaning you can’t drive.
- A fine (this could be unlimited).
- Potentially a prison sentence.
- You could lose your job if you’re convicted.
- Lots of employers ask about driving convictions on application forms, so it could mean that you can’t apply for a job you want.
- If you hurt someone or kill someone, you’ll have to live with that for the rest of your life.