Driving Conviction Insurance

Can Christmas Pudding put you over the drink drive limit?

Christmas Pudding contains a significant amount of alcohol and modern cooking methods may not burn it off.

Christmas pudding drink drive

Research into the traditional Christmas dinner dessert of Christmas Pudding has found that the puds provided by major supermarkets are laced with significant amounts of alcohol, such as brandy, cognac, sherry, rum and cider.

Modern Cooking Methods to Blame

It is thought that the microwave is the culprit that could be to blame for leaving the alcohol in the cake. While boiling or steaming causes the alcohol to evaporate, the microwave does not cook the alcohol as much.

This means that just one portion of Christmas pudding could be enough to send a driver over the drink drive limit, even if they haven’t had a drink already.

Drink Drive Limits

The drink drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, and the limit in Scotland was almost halved this year as it was reduced to 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it might be enough to put you over the limit, in Scotland almost certainly.

Marks and Spencer’s Pudding is the Booziest

In the research, Mark’s and Spencer’s pudding was the most booze filled, it’s Perfectly Matured Christmas Pudding was made from 7% brandy, 4.5% brandy cherries, 4% ruby port, 4% cognac 3.5% stout, making the puddings overall alcohol content 21 .5%, that means it’s comprised of over a fifth alcohol!

Even if you leave out the brandy butter or drizzling flaming brandy on the pudding a 100g portion of the Marks and Spencer pud could send you over the driving limit! It contains the same amount as alcohol as a single pub measure spirit.

If you were to eat the whole thing, it would be the same as drinking a third of a bottle of brandy.

Steaming/Boiling vs. Microwave

The majority of Christmas Pudding packaging suggests you should microwave for 3 minutes, but researchers say that this will not cook the alcohol off like steaming or boiling it for 2 hours would.

Most Christmas puddings these days recommend microwaving for as little as three minutes, but experts say this will not dilute their alcohol content in the same way as boiling or steaming for up to two hours.

To be safe this year, make sure you cook your pudding thoroughly by steaming or boiling it, otherwise do not drive. It could send you over the limit and cause you to be prosecuted.

If you have a driving conviction, get in touch with Think Insurance. We take a balanced and pragmatic view when insuring people with driving convictions and we won’t charge unnecessary prices. See our driving conviction insurance now.

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Drink Drivers to be tested for drug abuse this Christmas Period

New Drug testing kits will be used when West Midlands Police pull over suspected drink drivers in a new bid to reduce the amount of drug driving related deaths.

Police Equipmenrt

After it was recently announced that the Scottish drink driving limit would be nearly halved, it is hoped that new equipment that can indicate whether cannabis has been used by drivers will reduce the amount of road deaths that are caused by drug driving.

“Drink driving is a continuing problem despite all of the successes in reducing the number of offenders over the years.” says Inspector Greg Jennings, who has taken the reigns of the anti-drink-drive festive campaign this year.

“We continue to target drunk drivers who put themselves and others at risk when they get behind the wheel.

“However, it’s not just drink driving that kills and injures – we see too many people who seem to think it is acceptable to drive when they are using, or have recently used, cannabis and other illegal drugs.

“Drugs impair reaction times just as much as drinking and so we will be out to catch those who illegally possess, use and drive with illegal drugs in their system.”

Naming Drink and Drug Drivers

West Midlands Police will also make a point of naming every drink or drug driver charged with an offence during the Christmas period. Last year, in 2013, 205 drivers charged with drink or drug driving were named on the West Midlands Police website.

290 people were killed in 2012 due to drink drive accidents, a rise of 25% on the 2011 figures, in which 230 people died. 

In comparison the figures are greatly reduced, in the 70s and 80s they had years where more than 1,400 deaths were recorded every year, but drink drive related deaths are preventable and if people stopped getting behind the wheel drunk more lives could be saved.

A survey taken by confused.com found that 19% of the 2,000 asked had driven under the influence of stimulants.  More than a third of the people who admitted to using stimulants said they had taken cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy or amphetamines. The other two thirds had taken prescribed medicines such as anti-histamines, anti-depressants and morphine.

The festive season is a time where many parties are had and perhaps a little more alcohol is consumed, it is a smart initiative by the West Midlands Police. Inspector Jennings added: “Christmas is always a peak period for us, with so many people out celebrating and perhaps behaving differently to normal.”

As always, our advice to you is to not drink an alcoholic beverage if you will be driving at night.

If you have been charged with a driving conviction, and are struggling to find a fair insurance provider then look no further than Think Insurance.

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Drink Driving Laws in Scotland to be Tightened on December 5th

The law in Scotland relating to how much alcohol can be in a persons system while driving has been heavily tightened. The Amount of alcohol per 100ml of blood has nearly halved.

Think recently investigated how much alcohol someone can drink before departing on a car journey legally. Shortly after we released this article the Scottish Government changed their laws so that less alcohol can now be in someone’s system when they drive.

In a bid to improve road safety and discourage drivers from having any alcohol in their systems, the Scottish Government will enforce a tighter regimen surrounding drink driving. Instead of the UK’s standard 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, the Scottish limit will be reduced to 50mg per 100ml, nearly half of the previous law.

The new laws will commence in December 5th 2014, there are worries that people driving from England to Scotland may start driving under the limit but then be over the limit when they crossed the border.

A health board has issued advice to motorists surrounding the drink driving limits. The advice is simple, if you’ve had a drink, don’t drive. You may easily be over the limit.

The law was passed after Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill created plans to have the alcohol limit reduced at the start of this year.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill set out plans to lower the alcohol limit earlier this year.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway offered this advice to drivers:

“Although there are accepted average time frames for how quickly units of alcohol are metabolised there are a number of related factors which can affect blood alcohol levels such as age, weight and metabolism.

“Our best possible advice is that people should not drive after drinking at all as evidence suggests that a person’s driving ability may still be impaired while their blood alcohol levels are below the current legal limit.”

National and Border Campaign 

A huge campaign will launch this week on billboards and ITV border, a broadcaster that screens to people in Southern Scotland and Northern England, aimed at creating awareness and informing people of the laws surrounding the limit and what could happen if you cross the border over the limit. You will see the billboards and advertisements and signposting in specific locations around the Scottish Border.

The hope is to ensure everyone is fully aware of the new laws. 

If you are caught and convicted of being over the limit you may find yourself struggling to get a fair price or even a quote for motor insurance in the future. Here at Think we don’t judge, our convicted driver’s insurance prices are fair and we listen to every case.

To get insurance with Think after a conviction please take a look at our site.

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Penalty Points and Endorsement Codes – The Basics

If you are convicted by a court for a driving offence they can also endorse your driving licence with penalty points. These endorsements stay on your driving licence for up to 11 years, but this will depend on the offence committed.

Your counterpart licence will record your points & endorsements and the endorsement/points are also put on your driving record.

If you end up acquiring 12 points or more within 3 years you can be disqualified from driving. If you are a new driver holding a licence for less than 2 years, you can have your licence revoked after 6 points.

Endorsement codes and penalty points

Each endorsement has its own code. The code depends on the conviction and severity of the conviction.

The penalty points given alongside the endorsement will vary on a scale of 1-11 – obviously the more severe the conviction, the more points you’re going to get.

Points and endorsements will stay on your licence for at least 4 years from the date you were convicted or the date the offence happened. Some endorsements will stay on your licence for 11 years, specifically  for more severe offences such as:

·      Drink/Drug driving

·      Causing death by careless driving whilst drink/drug driving

·      Causing death by careless driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis

New Drivers

If you get points on your provisional licence these will pass on to your full driving licence should they still be within the 4 year period.

New drivers should also be wary that should they get 6 points within their first 2 years of holding a full licence, they will have their licence revoked and have to take both their theory and practical driving tests again.


Michela / CC By

Michela / CC By

Insurance After a Conviction

Getting insured after a conviction is difficult. Many insurers will not even offer you cover, while many of the ones that do, will load the premium to take in to account your driving record and offences.

At Think we don’t judge you for your convictions and will offer insurance where most other insurers might shy away. Take a look now and find the policy to fit you.


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A Dummies’ Guide to Convicted Drivers Insurance

Photo by Peter Anderson / CC By

Photo by Peter Anderson / CC By

Finding a car insurance policy can be difficult with a criminal conviction – and we’re talking about any kind of conviction here, not just offences to do with driving. Even if you do manage to find adequate cover, a convicted driver insurance policy is often much more expensive than would otherwise be the case.

You could have a minor conviction that is completely unrelated to driving altogether, and many insurers would still refuse to provide cover. This is because statistically speaking, criminally convicted drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents, and therefore make claims, meaning that they are often considered high risk car insurance holders or too high-risk to insure.

Some providers may be willing to offer you an insurance premium providing that your conviction has no relation to driving offences. If you have a conviction for theft, you may be eligible for car insurance, but refused should your conviction be for drink driving.

If you are struggling to find a policy from a conventional insurance broker, there are companies that specialise in providing insurance for drivers with convictions. It is important to remember however, that no matter how difficult it is to find a premium, car insurance is a legal requirement: it is illegal to drive without cover and unless your vehicle has been declared as being “off the road” with the DVLA, you could receive a fine of up to £1,000 if your car is left uninsured.

When it comes to declaring your convictions to insurance companies, you only need to be upfront about offences if they are ‘unspent’. After a certain period of time, depending on your sentence, criminal convictions become ‘spent’, or can be ignored. For instance, if you were sentenced with a fine, then your conviction would be considered spent after five years, meaning that after this time period, you do not have to declare your conviction to insurers. The rehabilitation periods are shown below.

  • Simple caution, reprimand or final warning: Spent immediately
  • Conditional caution: 3 months
  • Absolute discharge: 6 months
  • Conditional discharge: The period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)
  • Community sentence: 5 years
  • Fine: 5 years
  • Imprisonment up to 6 months: 7 years
  • Imprisonment/detention in young offender institution between 6 and 30 months (2 1/2 years): 10 years
  • Imprisonment/detention in young offender institution for over 30 months (2 1/2 years): Never spent

If your conviction comes under ‘never spent’ you will always have to declare it to an insurance provider. Additionally, there are some sentences that carry variable rehabilitation periods, such as:

  • Compensation order: On the discharge of the order, or in other words, when it is paid in full
  • Bind order: The period of the order, or a minimum of 12 months (whichever is longer)
  • Attendance centre order: One year after the order expires
  • Hospital order: Five years, or a period ending two years after the order expires (whichever is longer)

The rehabilitation period differs for those under the age of 18 at the time of conviction or the time the disposal is administered.

While it may be tempting to hide any convictions, failure to disclose this information to an insurance company could result in the invalidation of your policy, meaning that any claims could be refused should you have an accident.

At Think Insurance, we are experts when it comes to insuring drivers with motoring or criminal convictions. Whether it’s an SP30 (speeding offence), an IN10 (no insurance), a DR10 (drink driving), or a CD10 (driving without due car and attention), we can help you get back on the road without breaking the bank. Simply fill in our short form and get a quote today.

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