Advertorial: Don't drink if you're driving this Christmas

Figures show that police officers are carrying out fewer roadside breath tests. This coincides with a rise in the number of drink-driving accidents.

PetrolBlog doesn’t take life too seriously, but if there’s one subject that deserves more than a light touch it’s the issue of drink-driving.

While we might moan about Honda Jazz owners messing up a good B-road drive, fog light abusers or middle-lane hoggers, these are more akin to a wasp at a picnic than a threat to our safety.

It’s quite simple – if you’re driving, don’t drink. Leave the car at home, call a cab or try your luck on public transport.

Research shows that drivers are nearly three times more likely to be breathalysed in December than in any other month of the year, but that doesn’t stop motorists from driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Indeed, further research shows that the festive month sees a 20 percent spike in the number of drink-drive accidents.

Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that drink-drive deaths have hit the highest rate in a decade. In 2017, 250 road users were killed in drink-drive accidents – the highest number on record.

Some organisations are pointing to the 17 percent cut in the number of full-time police officers as a contributing factor. In 2010, police conducted 737,000 roadside breath tests, but by 2017 this number had fallen to 326,000.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “More road traffic police officers enforcing laws and more breath tests would certainly be welcome, but this should be accompanied by high-profile awareness campaigns.”

Last year, the DfT launched a campaign entitled ‘Mates Matter’, which called upon young people to intervene when one of their friends was tempted to drive after drinking. In 2016, 280 young men aged 16-24 were killed or seriously injured due to drink-driving in Great Britain. But this issue affects drivers of all ages.

‘A serious issue’

In September, the government launched a campaign to recruit 20,000 new police officers. The first wave of 6,000 officers will be shared among the 43 forces in England and Wales, with the remaining 14,000 recruited in the following two years.

Will it be enough? Analysis by Channel 4 suggests that the recruitment drive will simply “cancel out previous cuts and get us back to 2010 levels”. Meanwhile, the population of England and Wales is estimated to have gone up by around 3.5 million people since 2010.

Vantage Leasing managing director, Rob Walker, said: “Drink-driving remains a serious issue for UK road safety. Since 2010, we’ve seen a 17 percent drop in full-time police numbers.

“At the same time, drink drive fatalities and serious accidents have gone up. While having more officers won’t solve the problem of drink-driving entirely, they will undoubtedly help reduce the issue.”

The current drink-drive limit in England and Wales is 80 milligrammes (mg) per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood. In Scotland, the limit is 50mg/ml. Once again, if in doubt, don’t drink. If you do, don’t drive.

Read more:

Statistics and quote provided by Range Rover Evoque leasing specialists Vantage Leasing.