20 Dec 2019

Concerns Grow as Drink Driving Arrests Rise During Festive Period

Shocking figures have shown that drink driving arrests rose over the last festive period.

In December 2018, an average of 154 drivers were stopped and reprimanded each day for being over the limit, totalling 4,761 throughout the month.

The data comes from 40 UK police forces and shows a worrying 16% increase from 2017. What's more, the number of deaths involving drink-drive offences is currently at an eight-year high, with 2017 alone seeing between 230 and 270 fatalities in incidents where one party was intoxicated.

The figures have been released by the comparison site, Confused, which also polled 2,000 motorists about their knowledge of the law and drink-driving habits.

Of those surveyed, 36% admitted to being confused about the drink-driving limit, while 37% said they would drive after having one drink and 32% felt that they would be safe to drive following a second drink. Meanwhile, a huge 42% admitted to having driven despite believing themselves to be over the limit.

Of those who had been arrested for drink-driving, 46% had been stopped the following morning, presumably assuming they were safe to drive after a night of boozing.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused, 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.”

The festive period is typically a time where hard-hitting anti-drink-drive publicity materials are released across TV, print, online and more, showing the consequences for both the innocent and guilty parties in the event of an avoidable accident.

Campaigners are now worried that the surge in arrests demonstrates that the public has become immune to such appeals, and are now turning their attention to lobbying the government to take more decisive action.

“The current drink-driving limit gives a false impression that it is safe to drink and drive. This is a dangerous message and one that couldn't be further from the truth,” said Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for the road safety charity, Brake, adding: “How much longer must this continue before the Government acts?”

It's a sentiment shared by RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes, who believes that the figures show that “no discernible progress has been made” in reducing the number of drink-drive fatalities over nine years and that the Government should “consider reviewing the existing drink-drive limit”.

Christmas is, of course, a time for celebrations, but it can quickly turn to tragedy when drinking and driving are mixed. Be sensible this Christmas, and keep yourself and others safe.

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