Although in the minority, a disturbing amount of drivers would consider getting behind the wheel of the car after a night of heavy drinking and partying during the Christmas season. The AA and yonder surveyed 13,068 drivers, and worryingly 4 in 10 didn't consider being drunk the night before any reason to change their plans. It seems that this group of drivers assumed any alcohol effect would have left the system by the morning, which, of course, is not always the case.
It was not all bad news, and it seems that younger drivers are more conscientious than their older counterparts. Roughly 33% of 18 to 25-year-olds say they would never drink and drive, and this would be the most important piece of advice they would give to any of their peers just beginning their driving journey. 79% of the younger drivers also said that having a drink the night before would lead them to reconsider their decision to drive the next morning, whereas only 54% of older drivers would do the same.
If you are caught drunk driving, you can be taken to court and, if convicted, be imprisoned for up to 14 years. You can also be disqualified from driving for two years and receive unlimited fines. In 2021 there were 36,678 cases heard in court for drivers court above the blood alcohol limit behind the wheel. This was an increase of 13.9% from the same period in 2020, which saw 28,667 cases heard.
Speaking on behalf of the AA charitable trust, the director Edmund King said that ‘with the Christmas party season starting, many of us will be out socialising with our friends and family. Everybody wants a Christmas to remember, but it needs to be for the right reasons.“Drinking and driving simply do not mix. The best way drivers can stay safe this festive season is to ensure if they are driving, they do not drink, and if they are drinking, they do not drive. The fact that not drinking and driving topped the list of advice experienced drivers would give to new drivers shows that for many drivers, it’s really top of mind. The minority who might be tempted to drink and drive need to take notice. There’s no reason to take a chance–organise a lift, be the designated driver or book a taxi–but don’t drink and drive.”
When asked what other advice experienced drivers would give to new drivers, 16% would offer the advice of driving to the conditions of the road and taking extra care in adverse weather conditions. 11% would say never use a handheld mobile when driving, and 9% would suggest you have to make sure both you and your passengers are wearing seatbelts. Using mobile is behind the wheel is a significant cause of the accident, so it's disappointing that only 11% of experience drivers would consider this as important advice to their new driver friends.