Most drink-drivers caught on NYD every year

New Year's Day has been the worst day for drink drivers for the last four years

Posted on 31 Dec 2017

At least 119 motorists were caught drink-driving on New Year’s Day in 2017 – the most offences recorded on a single day(1,2,4).
One in four (25%) drivers admit they have driven in the morning, despite thinking they might still be over the limit from the night before. creates new morning after calculator, which shows drivers how much alcohol is in their system the morning after drinking, ahead of New Year’s Eve, the most celebrated event of the year.
More than 3,500 drivers were caught drink driving in January 2017, with more than 31,000 drivers failing roadside breathalyser tests this year (3).

New Year’s Eve is one of the most celebrated days of the calendar, and no doubt UK drivers are very much looking forward to clinking a drink or two when the clock strikes midnight.

But, a word of warning to party-goers, new research by, the driver savings site, found more drink-drivers have been caught on New Year’s Day for the past four years, more than any other date in the calendar. According to new Freedom of Information data, obtained by, 119 drivers failed breathalyser tests on the 1st January 2017(2,4).

Top 5 dates for drink-driving in 2017 to date

Date Number of drivers who failed breathalyser tests(4)
1st January 2017 119 
7th May 2017 54
26th August 2017  44 
21st May 2017  43 
23rd April 2017  42

It seems some drivers are waking up in the New Year without giving any thought to how much alcohol might still be in their system from the previous night’s festivities. But it is clear this is the day when drivers are most likely to get caught by police.

However, motorists are getting caught out the ‘morning after’ on other days of the year, too. Further research by found one in four (25%) drivers have driven the morning after a night out, despite thinking they are still over the limit. And of those who have been caught drink driving, almost a third (32%) fell foul of the offence the following morning. To help drivers avoid any future mishaps, has created a morning after calculator, which gives drivers an indication of when their body should be free of alcohol, based on how many units they consumed and when they stopped drinking.

Despite numerous campaigns and warnings, drink-driving is still proving to be an issue on UK roads. So far this year, 31,314(3) have failed the roadside breathalyser tests, with 3,542 offences recorded in January alone. This is despite popular fund-raising campaigns like ‘Dry January’, which encourages people to give up alcohol for the entire month.

Regardless of what time you finish drinking, or how much you drink, drivers should be especially vigilant over the party period, as no doubt the police will be out in full force to catch those who might take the risk. But it’s men in particular who need to be the most careful on New Year’s Day, as the data shows they are usually the culprit. In fact, so far this year, a whopping 16,704 men failed the roadside breathalyser test, compared to only 3,600 women(1)(5)

And worryingly, many drivers still don’t seem to know when they are over the limit. More than one in 10 (11%) motorists don’t know how many units are in their drink of choice, and a further one in 10 (10%) don’t actually know the legal UK drink-drive limit.

As motorists let loose over the Christmas and New Year period, it can be difficult to keep track of how many glasses of champagne they are knocking back. But monitoring alcohol intake can certainly help motorists decide when is safe to drive. To help drivers keep a tab on the effect of their alcohol consumption,’s morning after calculator allows users to input their drink of choice, how many glasses they have had, and when they stopped drinking, to estimate when their body will be free of any trace of alcohol.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “New Year’s Day is a fresh start for a lot of people, but unfortunately some drivers are starting the year the wrong way.

“The fact the most offenders are consistently caught on this day suggests drivers are getting behind the wheel while they’re still over the limit from seeing in the New Year the night before. Alcohol can take a lot longer to leave the body than expected, so has created a morning after calculator which gives an indication of when alcohol should have left your body.

“We don’t expect drivers to give up alcohol on New Year’s Eve, but we strongly advise they plan their night sensibly and make sure they are leaving enough time between drinking and driving the next morning, to eliminate the slightest chance they might still be over the limit.”


Notes to editors
Unless otherwise stated all statistics were obtained from a survey to 2,000 UK motorists. The survey ran between 7th December and 11th December 2017.

1. New Year’s Day has the most recorded drink-driving offences recorded by police forces since 2014 – figures obtained FOI requests to police forces in 2015, 2016, and 2017, all of which requested the top 3 dates for offences in their force area for the current and previous year (i.e. 2014 – 2017).

2. issued a Freedom of Information request to 45 police forces in  England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, of which 33 responded, which asked four questions in relation to the number of breathalyser tests failed by drivers:

a) The number of people who failed a breathalyser test at the roadside broken down by month, so far in 2017, 2016 and 2015 in your force area. 
b) The number of people who failed a breathalyser test at the roadside broken down by age and gender of the offender, so far in 2017, 2016 and 2015, in your force area. 
c) The three dates of the year that most people were caught drink driving in 2015, 2016 and so far in 2017, and the number of incidents recorded on that date (e.g. 1st April 2016 = 21 incidents recorded) in your force area.
d) The top three highest breathalyser readings recorded in your force area in 2016 and 2017 to date.

3. 2017 to date – dates will vary for each police force.

4. Figures do not represent all drink-driving offences on these dates – only those reported by police forces that have seem the highest number of offences on these dates.

5. Not all police forces were able to provide a breakdown of gender, hence the total sum does not equal that reported for the yearly total.


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