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Christmas drink-driving is on the rise

Tristan Shale-Hester 2019-12-03 00:01

December drink-driving offences grew 16 per cent from 2017 to 2018, while 36 per cent of drivers are confused about the drink-drive limit

Drink-driving over the Christmas period is becoming more common, new figures have suggested, with 16 per cent more offences taking place in December 2018 than over the same period in the previous year.

Some 4,761 drink-drivers were caught in December 2018 – equivalent to 154 per day and accounting for 8.5 per cent of the 56,000 drink-driving offences that year – according to figures from 40 UK police forces, obtained by insurance comparison site Confused.com via a Freedom of Information request.

Drink-drive limits explained

Confused.com also conducted a poll of 2,000 UK drivers, of whom 36 per cent said they were confused about the country’s drink-driving limit; 37 per cent said they would drive after having one drink, while 32 per cent would feel safe behind the wheel after two drinks.

The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg per 100ml of blood, but only 50mg in Scotland. The data suggests people are underestimating these limits, though – of the respondents who had been caught drink-driving at some point, 46 per cent were stopped the morning after they had consumed alcohol. Meanwhile, 16 per cent of drivers said they were unsure how long to wait between drinking and getting behind the wheel.

Worryingly, 42 per cent of respondents admitted to driving while knowing or thinking they were over the limit, with motorists over the age of 55 the most likely to drink-drive and men three times more likely than women to do so. In addition, 24 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t judge another driver for offering them a lift home while over the limit.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “With many of us enjoying celebrations with friends and family, we need to clue up on the drink-drive laws, as it’s clear so many people are taking the risk and driving after a drink.”

She added: “Ultimately, jumping behind the wheel after a drink is putting yourself and other road users at risk. Not only this, but it can land you with a fine or driving ban. If you’re drinking, don't drive. If you’re driving, don't drink.”

Do you think Christmas is the worst time for drink-drivers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

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