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Christmas party season prompts drink-drive warning following 239% increase in arrests

Increased sentences considered for assaults on emergency workers

As work colleagues, friends, and family gather to celebrate the festive season, a leading motoring lawyer is warning drivers to closely monitor their alcohol intake following a spike in drink drive arrests and legal enquiries over the Christmas and New Year period.

Figures obtained through a freedom of information request by the national law firm, Stephensons, show there were a total of 234 arrests for drink-driving related offences in Greater Manchester between 1st December 2021 and 2nd January 2022. This represents a 239% increase on the same period in the previous year when the region faced a number of lockdown restrictions.

Stephensons has also begun to see an influx of legal enquiries this December, with a number of drivers caught behind the wheel whilst over the legal alcohol limit.

Paul Loughlin, Partner and specialist motoring lawyer at Stephensons said: “December and the early part of January have consistently been one of our busiest periods. Whether its drink, drugs or excessive speed, the festive period seems to prompt drivers to lower their guard and make decisions that could have profound consequences, both for them and other road users.

Over the past two years, one notable trend in this area is the number of people being stopped having consumed too much alcohol at home. The pandemic, and subsequent cost of living crisis has seen many people opting to avoid busy and expensive bars and clubs and choosing to drink at home. In that environment, it can be very easy to misjudge the amount of alcohol you are consuming. That alcohol can stay in your bloodstream for up to 6 hours and on your breath for up to 24 hours.”

“I would urge people to keep a handle on their home measures and ensure they are within the legal drink drive limit before driving their vehicles the following morning.”

Here is a reminder of the drink driving penalties people can face if they are found guilty of drink driving:

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

  • Up to 3 months’ imprisonment

  • Up to £2,500 fine

  • A possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

  • Up to 6 months’ imprisonment

  • An unlimited fine

  • A driving ban for at least 1 year (minimum of 3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

  • 14 years’ imprisonment

  • An unlimited fine

  • A ban from driving for at least 2 years

  • An extended driving test before your licence is returned

A conviction for drink-driving also means:

  • Your car insurance costs will increase significantly

  • If you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence

  • You may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA