The Morning After the Night Before

The Morning After the Night Before

03 Dec

By Clarissa Hearn

Christmas party season is upon us and no doubt drivers across the UK are booking taxis and hotels in preparation for a big night.
However, new data reveals thousands of motorists took the chance and got behind the wheel after a drink during the festive season.
A whopping 179 motorists were caught drunk behind the wheel per day in December 2017, on average – more than any other month of the year accounting for 10% of the UK’s total drink driving offences (Freedom of Information data obtained by from 41 UK police forces).
In total, 57,613 motorists were caught drink-driving last year (2017). This is a 2% increase from 2016, which saw 56,745 offenders caught.
However, it isn’t just police officers patrolling the roads late at night that catch people heading home drunk. Further research by reveal there are many ‘fuzzy-headed’ motorists driving the morning after a heavy night of drinking. Almost one in 20 UK drivers have been caught driving over the legal alcohol limit at some point, of which, more than one in four cases happened the morning after drinking. In fact, more than one in seven drunk-drivers say they have been caught between the hours of 5am and 11am.
With so many motorists falling foul of drunk-driving, despite catching a few hours’ sleep, has created a ‘morning after calculator.’ This can help drivers find out how much alcohol could still be in their system after a night of drinking, and estimate how long they’ll have to wait before it leaves their body. Given that almost a fifth of UK drivers find it confusing knowing how long they must wait before they can drive after having an alcoholic drink, the calculator could give some clarity before they jump behind the wheel and face the blue flashing lights.
However, a worrying 28% of motorists admit to driving their car the morning after a night out, despite still feeling ‘over the limit’, leaving just six hours between drinking and driving on average. One in eight morning-drink-drivers said they drove their car still feeling drunk the morning after attending a company Christmas party. This is particularly concerning, given more than a tenth of motorists say they feel dizzy or their vision is blurred the day after drinking, suggesting they are not in the right state of mind to drive.
Regardless of what time you finish drinking, or how much you drink, drivers should be especially vigilant over the festive period, as no doubt the police will be out in full force to catch those who might take the risk.
Men in particular need to be the most careful, as the data shows they are usually the culprits, and are five times more likely to be caught drink driving than women. In fact, last year, a whopping 34,886 men were caught over the legal alcohol limit, compared to 7,061 women. Drivers in the North West may also want to reconsider before jumping behind the wheel after a boozy night out as the region saw the most drink-driving offences in 2017.
Top 5 regions for drink-driving offences in 2017
Region Number of offences
North West 10,121
South East 8,416
Scotland 5,765
West Midlands 5,332
South West 5,171
While motorists are happy knocking back a champagne or two, very few are aware of how much they should be drinking if they plan on driving. In fact, more than an eighth of motorists don’t know the legal UK drink-drive limit and a further one in four also think it is unclear how many units are in each alcoholic drink. Even if people are aware, they may not know the effects it has on them and almost two in five think it is unclear how long it takes for alcohol to leave the body.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says:
“There are a worry number of people confused about how long they should wait between drinking alcohol and driving, and this has led to thousands of motorists being caught drunk behind the wheel each month. With December and Christmas party season just around the corner, we’ve created a morning-after calculator that gives an idea as to how much alcohol is still in your system, and how long it typically takes to leave your body to give a quick indication of when you might be safe to drive. Drink driving can seriously impact the safety of our roads and put other road users at risk. Not only this, but it can land drivers with a fine or 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.”

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Clarissa Hearn

Clarissa is the Marketing Communications Executive for Protyre. Managing Protyre’s social media, PR and events keeping up to date on the latest automotive news and activities across the UK.  

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