Although this year’s festive season may have a different feel, drivers are being warned they are more than twice as likely to be breath-tested in December than any other month.
Statistics highlighted by the breathalyser company Alcosense show that in December 2019, police officers in England and Wales stopped 48,804 motorists on suspicion of drink driving. The average for the other 11 months was 23,043.
Of these, 5,210 drivers either tested positive or refused to take a test – a failure rate of 11%.
AlcoSense warns that even a small amount of alcohol slows reaction time, inhibits judgement and reduces concentration.
Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense Laboratories, said: “We might be going to fewer Christmas parties this year, but several studies show that people have been drinking more alcohol during lockdown.
“The increase has been driven by job uncertainty and pandemic anxiety, fuelled by the rise in at-home drinking where measures are more generous than a pub or restaurant.
“This trend makes it more likely that people may get behind the wheel and drive with alcohol still in their system the next morning.
“Even a small amount of alcohol slows reaction time, inhibits judgement and reduces concentration – increasing the likelihood of accidents.”
The analysis of Home Office data by AlcoSense also shows ‘huge variations’ around the country.
In North Wales, 3,964 motorists were tested last December, whereas in Wiltshire the figure was just 31.
There were also ‘big discrepancies’ in the percentage of motorists failing a breath test.
In Northamptonshire, the county with the highest number of tests in England (2,957), the failure rate was just 2%. Whereas in Cambridgeshire, where 1,070 tests were conducted, 30% were over the limit.