The festive period is the time to celebrate and reflect on the previous 12 months, and for most people, it’s the perfect opportunity to let their hair down and have a good booze up.

It’s the time of year that you see a big anti-drink-driving push, with adverts regularly reminding us to leave the car at home or assign a designated driver.

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All sound advice and in recent times, there was concern that the summer BBQ season had become a more active period for drink driving. However, new figures have proved that Christmas is still the booziest time of the year for motorists.

According to data published by car insurance website Confused.com, an average of 179 motorists were caught drunk behind the wheel every day in December 2017 – more than in any other month of the year.

Some 5,551 drunk-drivers were caught throughout all of last December, accounting for a tenth of the UK’s total drink driving offences. The figures suggest that drink driving was on the up in 2017 too, with 57,613 motorists caught over the limit, which is a two per cent increase on 2016 (56,745).

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Of course, alcohol flows a lot more freely during the festive period and that might just increase the chance of drunk-drivers on the roads, even if it is on their commute to work the next day.

Three in four UK drivers will be attending a Christmas party this year, of which almost two-thirds (63 per cent) plan on having an alcoholic drink and probably a fuzzy head the next morning. Motorists are happy to polish off their fair share of champers, but very few are aware of how much they should be drinking if they plan on driving.

More than an eighth (13 per cent) of motorists surveyed by Confused.com didn’t know the legal UK drink-drive limit. A further quarter aren’t clear how many units are in each alcoholic drink, which raises questions on how clearly the info is presented on packaging, and on products in pubs and bars. But even if people are aware, they may not know the effects it has on them. In fact, almost two in five (37%) think it is unclear how long it takes for alcohol to leave the body.

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Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “There are a worrying 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.

“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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How many drink driving offences were recorded in 2017?

  • January: 4,598
  • February: 4,323
  • March: 4,881
  • April: 5,146
  • May: 4,587
  • June: 4,527
  • July: 5,213
  • August: 4,581
  • September: 4,586
  • October: 4,654
  • November: 4,696
  • December: 5,551

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