Camping and Drinking - What to be aware of

Motorhomes, alcohol and things to bear in mind

Drinking and driving is a scourge which has long been regarded as being totally unacceptable. As immoral as it is illegal and given the potential consequences of getting behind the wheel when ‘under the influence’ few would argue that there’s any excuse for so doing.

While we’re sure that no-one who hires a motorhome from us would consider drinking and driving, there are circumstances you might benefit from bearing in mind to avoid inadvertently falling foul of the laws intended to catch those who might take to the road in an unfit condition.

It’s worth reiterating that we would never condone drinking and driving, there’s nothing wrong with pitching up for a few days and enjoying a drink when you’re not going to be going anywhere any time soon. The potential challenge comes from a motorhome being, by definition, both a home and a vehicle all at the same time. Of course, drinking and driving is an offence, but so too is being found ‘drunk in charge’ of a motor vehicle in a public place, which carries similar penalties.



What is a ‘public place’?

Naturally, the highway is a public place, so even if you’re parked up by the side of the road with no intention of going anywhere, it might be advisable to hold off on the nightcap. Also bear in mind that if a vehicle is deemed to be causing an obstruction, the police can ask for it to be moved and if no-one in the motorhome is able to do so due to there being no-one sober enough to drive, then you’re between a rock and a hard place.

There are plenty of places you might consider pitching up for the night which while not being highways, might still be considered ‘public places’. Essentially, anywhere the general public has access to could be considered ‘public places’ while they have access to it. A pub car park (such as those listed in the Brit Stop Guide) which you’ve arranged to stay at overnight, are certainly public places while the pub is open, but after hours, ‘might’ not be, although it’s open to interpretation, so be cautious.



What is ‘in charge’

What constitutes being ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle for the purpose of this law is a huge grey area. Technically having enough alcohol in your blood while in a motorhome might be enough to put you in front of a magistrate, what happens from there isn’t cut and dried. If you’re sat in the driving seat fully dressed with the key in the ignition when asked to provide a breath specimen, you’re likely to be on more shaky ground than if you’re in your pyjamas, with levelling struts deployed and the ignition key hidden in a drawer or left in the safe of the site owner. Being able to prove that on balance of probability you weren’t going to drive anywhere and had no intention of so doing will stand you a better chance of either being left in peace by a police officer or if not, acquitted by a magistrate when you’re called on to explain yourself.



Advice From Priory on Motorhome Camping and Drinking

As a disclaimer, please be aware that we’re not able to offer legal advice, so please don’t take the above as such. If you’re going to enjoy a drink while on your motorhome holiday, please do so responsibly and we’d suggest that when in doubt, at least one of the party should avoid alcohol so that there’s always someone to assume charge of the motorhome should the need arise or when in doubt as to the status of the campsite you’ve stopped at.

If you have any questions about this issue or about motorhome hire in general, feel free to contact us, we’d be delighted to hear from you.