Festive ‘pull’ to break the law
CHRISTMAS merriment is increasingly tempting motorists to drink-drive, a survey has found, with one in six feeling added pressure to enjoy “one for the road”.
A study of more than 18,500 drivers by the AA discovered that 17% report a greater expectation to drink before they get behind the wheel during the festive period.
It marks a significant spike since 2011, when only 5% complained of extra pressure to consume alcohol before driving at Christmas.
Chief among the suspects demanding people have a prejourney tipple are work colleagues, who 42% identified as the pushiest, and friends, named by 41% as the worst offenders.
The findings come as police launch a crackdown on drink and drug driving as Christmas approaches.
Forces across England and Wales are currently running “intelligence-led” operations to target motorists who get behind the wheel under the influence.
The initiative will run from December 1 to New Year’s Day inclusive.
During last year’s Christmas campaign police stopped more than 100,000 vehicles, with 5,698 breath tests that were positive, failed or refused.
These are cases where the driver is found to be over the legal limit by a breathalyser, refuses to give an officer a specimen of breath, or gives a specimen of breath but it is not sufficient to determine a result.
Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs Council lead for roads policing, said: “Every year police forces deal with cases of drink or drug-driving that result in families facing Christmas without loved ones.
“Our recent operations have shown higher rates of detection for drugs and alcohol than in recent years. The scale of the problem is still a real concern.
“The law says that if you drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs you can face an unlimited fine, disqualification from driving, and more than a decade in prison.
“Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely.”
Edmund King, AA president, said: “It is worrying that people are still encouraging others to take such risks. If a friend or work colleague offers you a drink when you’re driving say ‘no thank you’.”