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January among worst month for drink-driving offences in 2022

With that in mind, drivers are being urged to avoid drink-driving after New Year’s celebrations this coming weekend

Published on 28th Decemeber 2022
  • More than 3,000 drink-driving arrests were made throughout January across England, Wales and Northern Ireland(1) in 2022.
  • The latest data, gathered from police forces, shows that Greater London, Avon and Somerset, and Greater Manchester were some of the worst offending regions for driving-driving cases(1).
  • With the final leg of the party season quickly approaching, motorists should remain mindful of the consequences of drink-driving. Confused.com’s morning after calculator can help motorists determine when it’s safe for them to drive the day after drinking.
  • Almost 2 in 5 (36%) of drivers who have been caught drink driving say they’d been arrested the morning after(4). And more than 1 in 4 (27%) admit to driving the morning after, despite possibly still being over the limit.

The month of January was one of the busiest for UK police forces, as new data reveals that more than 3,000 drink-driving offences were committed at the start of the year.

And with New Year’s celebration’s quickly approaching this coming weekend, there could potentially be millions of drivers on the road on New Year’s Day. But motorists are being urged to keep themselves safe and avoid driving after drinking alcohol. Especially the morning after.

According to new Freedom of Information data obtained by Confused.com from Police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, drink-driving offences are still a problem across the UK. According to the data, more than 28,000 offences have been recorded between January and October this year. And January makes up for roughly 11% of arrests for the months recorded, seemingly making it one of the busiest times for UK police forces in relation to drink-driving offences.

And with the final weekend of celebrations quickly approaching, motorists are being urged to be cautious on the roads, especially the morning after.

According to the latest data gathered by Confused.com, figures show that Greater London, Avon and Somerset, and Greater Manchester were some of the worst offending regions throughout January(2).

Police force Approximate no. of arrests (January 2022)
Metropolitan Police
Avon and Somerset Police
Greater Manchester
Northern Ireland
West Yorkshire Police

And although December is notoriously linked with boozy festivities, historically, January can be as much as a busy time for UK police forces too. That’s as occasions such as New Year’s celebrations and even delayed Christmas parties can be on the horizon. So it’s safe to say that ‘Dry January’ might not always be on the agenda for all. That’s why Confused.com is reminding drivers to consider the dangers of drink-driving as the new year approaches. But it’s not always as black and white as you might first think. That’s because alcohol can stay in your system for hours after drinking, so some drivers might still be over the limit the day after their celebrations. For this reason, Confused.com has created a morning after calculator so that driver’s can determine if they might still be over the limit. Though if in doubt, motorists should not drive.

According to further research, almost 1 in 5 (19%) UK drivers have been caught drink-driving in the past, with more than a third (36%) claiming it happened the morning after drinking. Although, many more drivers have taken the risk, with more than 1 in 4 (27%) admitting to driving the morning after drinking despite possibly still being over the limit. Almost 2 in 5 (37%) judged their driving ability based on how they felt that morning and 32% said they assumed it had worn off during the night. Only 1 in 5 (19%) calculated their alcohol levels based on how much they had consumed versus the amount of time that had passed.

The calculator could benefit millions of drivers this winter, as the research also found that 1 in 5 (20%) drivers said that they have or would have an alcoholic drink before driving. In fact, more than 1 in 4 (27%) UK drivers said they’d be safe to drive after 2 or more drinks.

When asked why they’d consider driving after drinking alcohol,, some of the most popular reasons included:

  • Knowing they were within the limit (45%)
  • Having 1 or 2 drinks and thinking it would be fine(42%)
  • Feeling sober and in control (35%)
  • Having a big meal (20%)
  • Not having far to drive (20%)
  • It was late at night (18%)
  • Thinking there weren’t any police around (14%)

There are strict limits in place under UK driving laws when it comes to drink-driving. But it’s not always possible to determine with accuracy if drivers are within the limit after consuming alcohol. That’s because a variety of factors, such as weight and age, can play a role. And although some drivers chose to drink-drive when they thought no police were around (14%), some drivers are much more sensible. Research reveals that some road users admit that they’re cautious of police presence on the roads over the Christmas period (26%).

But what are the consequences if caught drink-driving? Punishments can vary depending on the charge, but offences are always taken seriously. Drivers caught can expect fines, driving bans and even prison sentences if caught. In fact, according to the latest FOI data, last year more than 19,300 drivers were charged for driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink. This can carry penalties such as an unlimited fine, a 12-month driving ban and a 6-month prison sentence(4).

So although drivers might be sensible in finding alternative routes home after a festive night out, they should be wary about driving the next day too. That’s because they could be posing a real threat to themselves and other road users, if not careful.

Confused.com car insurance expert, Louise Thomas, comments: “The statistics around drink-driving offences remain high, especially in January, which might be surprising for many. That’s why it’s vital that motorists choose safe and sensible options when making their way home from their New Year’s celebrations, even if it’s the next day.

If you’re caught drink-driving, the consequences are strict. If charged, drivers face tough penalties that could also affect things like your car insurance in future.

As a rule, if you’re driving, don’t drink alcohol. This is crucial for the safety of all road users and will ensure everyone can enjoy their upcoming celebrations without having to worry about others on the road. If you do need to drive the day after drinking, using a tool like the morning after calculator can help to determine whether you might still be over the limit.”


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Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first digital marketplace for car insurance and is one of the leading brands in the sector, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the years to include home insurance, van insurance, motorcycle insurance, and car finance comparison, as well as a number of tools designed to save consumers money.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

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