• More than 41,000 motorists were caught drink-driving in 2017(1).
• More than two fifths (42%) of UK motorists admit to driving after having an alcoholic drink with more than half (56%) doing so during the summer.
• Over a third (34%) of drink-drivers admit to jumping behind the wheel after drinking in a pub garden.
• Almost a fifth (17%) of UK motorists have driven while knowingly being over the drink-drive limit – almost a quarter (24%) of which did so the morning after(3).
• Confused.com creates ‘morning after calculator’ to advise drivers on how much alcohol could still be in their system – ever after a good night’s sleep.
Drivers across the UK are no doubt enjoying what seems like a very rare, hot summer accompanied by an ice-cold beer or gin and tonic in their local pub garden. But new research shows that it is also one of the most prolific times for drink-drivers on the roads(1).
Last year (2017), July accounted for 9% of the year’s total drink-driving offences and was second-worst month for the offence, behind December(2).In total, a whopping 41,041 drink-driving arrests or convictions were recorded in 2017. And with the hot weather we’ve been having recently, it’s likely this year figures could increase even further, especially over the summer months. That’s according to new Freedom of Information data obtained by Confused.com, the driver savings site, from 33 police forces across the UK.
Drink driving offences recorded in 2017(1)
||No. of offences recorded
Further research by Confused.com shows there are many drivers open to taking the risk, with more than two fifths (42%) of UK motorists admitting to driving after having an alcoholic drink. And with another month or so of summer left, motorists should be particularly wary while on the roads, as more than half (56%) of boozy-motorists admit to driving after having a drink in the summer months. This could be due to more drivers heading to their local pub garden to enjoy an ice-cold drink with family and friends. In fact, more than a third (34%) of drink-drivers have jumped behind the wheel after drinking in a pub garden.
However, it seems some drivers are risking more than driving after a drink or two, with some taking to the wheel while still feeling a bit drunk. Almost a fifth (17%) of UK motorists say they have driven while knowingly being over the legal alcohol limit. But what is worrying is that sometimes a good night’s sleep isn’t quite enough to sober them up. In fact, almost a quarter (24%) of those who’ve driven while still feeling drunk did so between the hours of 6am and 12pm. To prevent motorists from taking the risk and driving while still drunk, Confused.com has created a ‘morning after calculator’ which 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.
But regardless of how much you drink, or what time you finish, it’s no secret that drink-driving is extremely dangerous and puts other road users at risk. In fact, one in eight (12%) UK drivers say they have had an accident or near-miss caused by drink-driving. And given so many drivers admit to drink-driving over the course of the summer, it’s no surprise that more than one in 10 (11%) of these accidents or near-misses happened between the months of May and August.
So, it goes without saying that drivers should mindful of how many pints they are knocking back before jumping behind the wheel. And the research suggests men in particular need to be the most careful, as they are six times more likely to be caught drink-driving than women. In fact, in 2017, a whopping 19,334 men were arrested or convicted or drink-driving, compared to only 3,462 women. And drivers in the South East may also want to reconsider before jumping behind the wheel after a boozy night out, as the region saw the highest number of offences last year. More than 7,400 motorists in the region were arrested or convicted of drink-driving in 2017, which accounts for almost a fifth (18%) of the UK’s total.
So far, 2018 is on course to be a boozier year, with 13,614 offences recorded between January and April, compared to 13,408 over the same four months in 2017. But there is still hope for more sun coming our way, which means people aren’t leaving the pub gardens quite yet. In fact, the research by Confused.com suggests drivers find drink-driving to be more of an issue over the summer months, with almost half (45%) believing the hot weather encourages people to drink more alcohol. Not only this, but more than a third (37%) say that motorists are more likely to drive after having an alcoholic drink when the sun is out.
But as drivers make the most of the sunny weather, it can be difficult to keep track of how many Pimms or gin and tonics they are knocking back. But monitoring alcohol intake could help motorists decide when is safe to drive.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “Sun and alcohol is a dangerous cocktail, and it clearly has an impact on the number of drivers who are caught drunk behind the wheel.
“We know that it can be hard for motorists to calculate how many units they’ve had, and how long they have to wait until they can drive. So we’ve created a morning-after calculator to give drivers a rough idea as to how much alcohol is still in their system, and how long it typically takes to leave their body.
“Drink driving is a dangerous and punishable offence, which can seriously impact the safety of our roads and put other road users at risk. The offence can land drivers with a fine, or even a driving ban, which can have a negative impact on their car insurance premiums. 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.”
Notes to editors
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 12th July and 17th July 2018.
1. 10,424 drink-driving offences were recorded between the months of June and August 2017. This is the highest number of offence of any season, vs. Jan, Feb and Dec (winter), March – May (spring) and September – November (autumn).
2. Confused.com issued a Freedom of Information request to 45 police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, of which 33 responded. The request asked three questions relating to the number of drink-driving offences in their police force area:
₋ The number of drivers caught over the legal drink-drive limit in your force area, broken down by month for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 to date.
₋ The number of drivers caught over the legal drink-drive limit in your force area, broken down by age and gender of the offender, and broken down by year for 2016, 2017 and 2018 to date.
₋ The three dates of the year that most people were caught over the legal drink-drive limit in your force area, including the number of offenders caught on each of these days, broken down by year for 2016, 2017 and 2018 to date.
3. 24% of drivers who have driven while knowing they are over the legal alcohol limit did so between the hours of 6am and 12pm.