Statistics from insurer LV state that there are 37.8% more drink driving arrests in December than in any other average month in the year. The combination of high alcohol consumption during the festive period and the cold weather means that arrests for driving while impaired shoot up every December. One in eight UK road deaths results from crashes where the driver was over the drink-drive limit [Department of Transport, 2014]. According to a survey of 1,000 drivers by Brake and Direct Line, one in three (32%) UK drivers admit to driving after drinking any amount of alcohol in the last year. Almost one in five (19%) admit driving the morning after having a lot to drink, when they are likely to still be over the limit.
In the launch of ACPO’s winter drink-driving campaign, National Policing Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, said “There is an easy way to make sure that the holiday period is a safe and happy one for all concerned: enjoy yourself, celebrate, enjoy the company of family and friends but if you drink – do not drive. It is not worth the risk. Officers are on heightened alert all year round but especially at this time of year.”
“The prevalence of drink driving arrests in December is something that we have noticed for some time now. Every year we see a rise in cases where the client has been charged with driving while impaired in the days and weeks surrounding the festive period,” says Ritu Sethi, Founder and Managing Partner of The Sethi Partnership Solicitors. “Besides the obvious safety risks, the legal ramifications of drink driving are severe and could result in a 6 month sentence, a fine of up to £5,000 and a 12 month disqualification to your driver’s licence, or more if the incident causes death or injury to others. Drink driving is a criminal offence and can result in a criminal record if upheld.”
The Sethi Partnership Solicitors, based in West London have been practising road traffic and drink related offences for the past twenty years and regularly see the significant, negative effect that drink driving has throughout the year, both on the victims of accidents and on the drivers themselves.
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The festive season is a key time to catch up with friends, family and loved ones, which for many also involves alcohol. Every year numerous campaigns encourage care, both with our own alcohol intake and on the roads. It is crucial to also remember that drink driving has legal consequences and can affect our lives, beyond Christmas.