Millions of drivers risk fines amid drink-driving crack-down

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The State of Jersey Police warned drivers not to drink-drive or risk being caught as part of their Christmas campaign to raise “awareness of the dangers and consequences of drink-driving”. The force added 55 drivers had been prosecuted for the offence in 2022, with more than 30 cases “still under investigation”.

Insp Callum O’Connor said drink driving was “just not worth the risk”.

The Roads Policing lead added: “Drink driving can have a devastating impact on lives and the festive period is the opportune time to get this message out.

“Think how being caught drink driving could affect your life; driving to work, childcare arrangements or the school run, socialising and family visits.”

He continued: “The impact of losing your licence is enormous, not only would you face a heavy fine, but worse still, you could injure or kill yourself or someone else. It’s never okay to drink and drive, it’s just not worth the risk.”

The news comes after new research conducted by the experts at iCompario, surveyed 1,000 UK adults who drive about whether they had ever knowingly driven home over the legal drink drive limit following a Christmas party or event, and their reasons for this.

Even more shocking, 1.6 million UK motorists (four percent) have knowingly driven home over the limit after a Christmas party on more than one occasion. The findings also highlighted that men are much more likely to drink-drive at Christmas than women. Almost one in five men have done so, compared to just over one in 20 women (six percent). One in seven (13 percent) admitted that whilst they haven’t driven home from a festive do over the legal limit, they have gotten into the car with someone who was.

Drivers in London are the most likely to have driven home from a festive event while drunk, as almost one in five living in the capital (18 percent) have done this at least once. A similar number of Belfast residents have also driven home over the legal limit (17 percent). The Northern Ireland capital recorded the second highest number in the UK.

Leeds locals are the most likely to be repeat offenders, with seven percent of people living the West Yorkshire city admitting to driving home from a festive bash whilst over the limit on more than one occasion. In contrast, Mancunians were found to be the best-behaved. Just two percent admit to drink-driving after a Christmas party, less than any other city.

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When quizzed about their reasons for having driven over the legal limit in the past, one in five drink-drivers (19 percent) said “they didn’t think they’d get caught”.

However, the most common excuse given was that they were unable to get home any other way (43 percent).

Almost one in three drink-drivers (30 percent) said that they were “too embarrassed to ask a friend” for assistance.

Less than 10 percent put it down to monetary reasons such as being unable to afford a taxi or wanting to save cash (seven percent).

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iCompario also surveyed UK adults on how comfortable they would feel about stopping someone they suspected of being over the limit from driving home after a party.

More than a quarter of Brits said they did not feel as though they could do so themselves.

That said, one in eight of those who didn’t feel comfortable having this conversation said they would be happy to report that person to the police instead.

Regionally, Glasgow was found to be the city with the highest number of residents who would not feel comfortable in personally attempting to stop another person drive home drunk from a party (44 percent).

According to DfT statistics, having been declining in the early 2000s and 2010s, drink driving incidents have been on the up since 2014.

This is still a large decrease on the 5,630 serious collisions recorded in 1979 – the worst year on record for drink-driving accidents. 

That said, over the last five Christmas periods, almost 5,000 drink-driving related collisions have been recorded in November and December alone. 

Kerry Fawcett, Digital Director at iCompario said: “These findings are a real eye-opener to how big an issue drink-driving remains in the UK, with the findings seeming to suggest that the festive period is particularly problematic, with millions of us catching up with colleagues and friends for a drink before the big day.

“Whilst many of us will be looking after our spending around this particular Christmas time, the extra expense on a taxi or organising a lift from a close one is absolutely the right thing to do.

“Many drink drivers convince themselves that they will be ok to drink-drive just once – but even one time is enough to jeopardise the lives of yourself and others and risk a custodial sentence.”

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