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29 Nov 2018
Adam Bate

Drink-driving offences spike over Christmas period


More than 5,500 drivers were caught drink-driving in December 2017, new research reveals.

Man drinking beer reaching for car keys

What are your plans for getting home safely this Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!

Whether you’re spending Christmas at home, visiting friends and family or having to work to keep the country going, there’s always Christmas cheer to be found over the festive period. 

It could be finding the perfect present for a loved one, or tucking into the first mince pie of the year: it’s sometimes the smallest moments that make Christmas magical. 

Unfortunately, not everyone gets this memo. Instead, some see Christmas as an opportunity to do everything bigger, bolder and more excessive. 

Read more: Drink driving - what you need to know

179 drink-drivers caught every day in December

When you add up the extra social events, the catch-ups with distant relatives and late nights at work, cramming to get things finished before the holidays, you can quickly see why our alcohol intake climbs dramatically in December. 

According to new data from, an average of 179 motorists were caught over the legal limit behind the wheel every day in December 2017. 

This is more than any other month of the year. 

In total, 5,551 drink-drivers were caught over the course of the month, accounting for 10% of the UK’s total drink-driving offences. 

Read more: UK drink-drive limits and alcohol unit calculator

Men five times more likely to drink-drive

The data comes via a Freedom of Information request by to 41 UK police forces. 

It shows a total of 57,613 motorists were caught drink-driving last year (2017). This is up 2% from 2016.

In particular, it appears that men need to be the most careful. The data shows they are five times more likely to be caught drink-driving than women.  

In fact, last year, 34,886 men were caught over the legal alcohol limit, compared to 7,061 women.

Top five regions for drink-driving offences in 2017

  1. North West – 10,121 offences

  2. South East – 8,416 offences

  3. Scotland – 5,765 offences

  4. West Midlands – 5,332 offences

  5. South West – 5.171 offences

Other options for getting home

So, what are the real alternatives that could help you get home after a night out without having to resort to drink-driving?

You could always use public transport. While you may not be dropped right at your front door, you’ll get transported safely and for a reasonable amount of money. 

If you’d rather be dropped straight home you can pay for a taxi, Uber or other lift share service. 

This gives you the convenience of a door-to-door pick up, but obviously comes at an increased cost, especially at Christmas and New Year when taxi firms increase their prices for late night pickups. 

Read more: Can I get car insurance as a convicted driver?

Temporary car insurance from 1 hour to 28 days

Another option that could be worth looking at is temporary car insurance

This can prove a quick and easy option for some, as it enables a designated driver to take you and your car home after a night out. 

You can get a quote online via And cover from providers such as TempCover can typically be arranged for anything between one hour and 28 days.

What’s more, the car owner’s no claims discount won’t be affected. 

Morning-after calculator shows how much alcohol is in your system

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “Drink-driving can seriously impact the safety of our roads and put other road users at risk.

“Not only this, but it can land drivers with a fine or driving ban, which can have a negative impact on their car insurance premiums. 

“With December and Christmas party season just around the corner, we’ve created a morning-after calculator

“It’s designed to give you an idea as to how much alcohol is still in your system, and how long it typically takes to leave your body, indicating when you might be safe to drive.

“To avoid getting caught out, we suggest drivers stop drinking early if they know they have to get behind the wheel in the morning. 

“But the best advice would be to avoid drinking alcohol at all.”


Have you ever had to take a breathalyser test? Let us know in the comments and join in the discussion!


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