The light at the end of the tunnel: key takeaways from my experience

ZZTopWereHere

Well-known member
Hi everyone,

I've called the DVLA last Friday and they confirmed that my records show that I will be able to drive from midnight on the 18th of January 2017.

I have covered multiple topics on this website but since all my questions and doubts are answered at this stage, I thought that providing a summary of my experience in a single post could be useful to this online community. I will come back here every now and then because this is a great resource for DD also thanks to many returning users, but my future posts will likely be just replies to other users.

Context: I am a EU citizen living and working in the UK since 2014 and I haven't yet converted my EU driving licence to a UK licence. I was sentenced to a 12-month driving ban on the 18th of April 2016, with the lowest breath reading being 47. I asked for, and obtained, the option of having the ban reduced to 9 months if I attended a DD course. I was assisted during the court hearing by the duty solicitor (further details: #124).

Key takeaways:


  1. The obvious one: don't drink and drive. An interesting corollary, however, is related to the morning after, or even the whole day after, a session of heavy drinking at night and maybe even until the wee hours in the morning. No matter how much you eat, drink water or even vomit, the safest assumption is that you'll reduce your alcohol content only as a function of time. One unit per one hour.
  2. Mention the DD course during the hearing: in my case I mentioned it in my mitigation plea letter. Doing it in writing avoids the need to find the right time to mention it during the hearing, when tension can make it difficult to speak at all.
  3. Look at the bright side of life: my wife took this opportunity to finally take driving lessons. Since our car is automatic rather than manual she didn't use it to learn and pass the test because the test passed with an automatic car doesn't allow you to drive manual ones. However, we could start using again our car after about 4 months rather than waiting the 9 months required for me to drive again.
  4. Don't panic about insurance: I could keep mine while banned by adding new drivers and then I could also renew it at a competitive cost. Being honest and straightforward with insurances pays off in the long run, and if they don't want you they don't deserve you. In the worst case, during the DD course you'll be able to contact insurances with plans for banned drivers.
  5. Another obvious one: if you travel, review the requirements for any country you'd like to visit in the near and not-so-near future. Do not worry too much about US visas: I needed a B1/B2 one for reasons unrelated to my conviction and although the conviction makes the whole process slightly longer and definitely much more expensive, I got my 10-year US visa in a couple of weeks. On the other hand, I've found out that unfortunately I won't be able to visit again Canada for a while.
  6. If you have a EU, non-UK, driving licence, call the DVLA about a month before you're planning to drive again: the case of DD convictions for EU licence holders is a "grey area" in terms of knowledge across multiple stakeholders. Even here I've found some uncertainty and my DD course trainers did not know for sure. I asked the police too, and they told me to ask the DVLA. There is no point in using emails with the DVLA as their system does not have a specific channel for these requests and after sending my email I've received a response asking me to call them. Over the phone it took less than five minutes: the DVLA just needs name, surname, date of birth and address (at the time of the conviction; I have changed address recently but they clearly only had the old one). Any detail about the driving licence itself is irrelevant, as no one has ever asked me about it during the whole court process and its ID number does not appear anywhere in all proceedings. Calling the DVLA is not really strictly necessary, but I wanted to make sure that the ban reduction following the DD course was correctly recorded. The DVLA is also the source that the Police would use to check your right to drive when you'll be behind your wheel again, so it's better to make sure that everything is reported correctly at that end.
  7. Look after you car battery, if you plan to keep your car: older cars with less electronics in them might not use much battery at all while unused, but mine needed a jump start after less than 5 months although it was less than 2 years old. There are cheap battery maintainers that you can buy for less than 50 quid and that can keep your battery healthy while the car is parked.

Thanks again everyone and I wish all of you a great 2017!

Best regards,
Z

Convicted Driver Insurance

Compare quotes from leading covicted driver insurance specialists in the UK

Get Quotes
 

fordfan83

Member
Wise words there Z.

I'll be allowed to drive on the 28th of January so not long to go now! It's at the stage now where I feel this nightmare is finally coming to an end.

My insurance hasn't gone up dramatically due to my age and number of years driving which is a bonus.

I ended up selling my car about a month after the conviction. I had planned to do some restoration work on it to keep myself occupied, but I got sick of the sight of it sitting on the drive.

Anyway, I've rambled enough, a happy new year to you and I wish you all the best for getting back on the road.

Cheers
Chris
 

Lupus

New member
Hello ZZTopWereHere , I have read your story and I had a question for you.
Having an EU driving license , what happened after the DD ban period?
Did you just start driving again in the UK with your existing EU license or you
had to get a new UK license?

Thank you
 

ZZTopWereHere

Well-known member
Hello Lupus, yes, my EU driving license wasn't even physically taken by the court on the day of the trial and I could still use it in mainland Europe during my UK (and Ireland) ban. As it would apply in any case, I will have to get a UK license when mine will expire in 2020 if I will still be living here. At that time, since anyway the DVLA has a record of my conviction, my past ban should show up there for about one year, because after 5 years it should appear only in deeper searches about my criminal record but for most intents and purposes my conviction will be completely "spent".
I'm only curious now to see if that will have a role when I will apply for the "settled status", assuming that Brexit will actually happen at all.

Have a great weekend!
Z
 

TipsyNurse

Well-known member
Worth saying that the 1 unit = 1 hour is a guide for an average man. Smaller men or infrequent drinkers will metabolise as little as 0.7 units an hour, and small women even less. You also need to add an extra hour at the start for the alcohol to start to be metabolised

I know of - obviously mostly women - who have thought the 1 unit = 1 hour was a fixed rule for everyone and have been caught out trying to calculate when it is safe to drive next day. If you've had a heavy night and are smaller than average and/or don't often drink don't rely on the 1 unit = 1 hour rule as a guarantee that you will be safe to drive at a certain time. Best to add on 50% to be safer.
 

ZZTopWereHere

Well-known member
Worth saying that the 1 unit = 1 hour is a guide for an average man. Smaller men or infrequent drinkers will metabolise as little as 0.7 units an hour, and small women even less. You also need to add an extra hour at the start for the alcohol to start to be metabolised
True, I must say that the first advice during the DD course was the one I called out in bold above. Just don’t drink and drive. It’s quite obvious that the 1 hour 1 unit rule is an oversimplification, but it’s still a step beyond false common sense beliefs like eating before or after drinking, or just whether you feel drunk or not. So, yes, relying on strict timing is still a Russian roulette, and I have honestly never done that. Now that both I and my wife can drive it’s all much easier, who drives doesn’t drink and vice versa.
Driving the day after a night out drinking is still probably the most difficult risk to evaluate, but we never have to drive early on weekends and therefore we still drive only several hours after the number of hours equalling the numbers of units that we’ve had during the night.
Cheers,
Z

Convicted Driver Insurance

Compare quotes from leading covicted driver insurance specialists in the UK

Get Quotes
 
Top