Figures obtained from police forces show that May is the top month for catching drink drivers, with nearly one in six stopped found to be over the limit.
This might come as a surprise, but perhaps even more surprising is how proportionately few drivers are caught drunk in December, indicating that advertising campaigns over the festive period are having an impact on public awareness.
The data, released under the Freedom of Information Act to insurer Admiral, shows that 15.1% of all drivers stopped in England and Wales over the last three years were over the limit, compared with 4.3% in December.
August and April were second and third, with 14.9% and 14.8% respectively.
Of the 27 police forces that supplied figures, Cambridgeshire (36.5%), Kent (26%) and Northamptonshire (21.6%) caught the highest percentage of offenders during May and Nottinghamshire (10.1%), Cumbria (9.6%) and North Wales (7.6%) were at the other end of the table.
So why May? Is this the point when our New Year resolutions finally cave in? Are we kidding ourselves that standing next to a BBQ and chatting with friends is the fastest way to metabolise that third, remarkably strong, Bavarian lager? Do the increasing number of hours of sunlight make 15.1% of us go giddy?
Probably a bit of all of that.
According to Admiral, we can’t handle spontaneity:
“In December, people are traditionally more aware of the dangers of drink-driving and plan nights out well in advance,” says a spokeswoman.
“But people may not be planning ahead over the bank holiday period in the same way that they do over the festive period.”
The drug and alcohol road safety charity DDE+ agrees: “In December there are more planned events such as Christmas dos, where people know not to take the car,” says a spokesman.
“In the summer and bank holidays that lead up to it, there are more impromptu gatherings such as barbecues, where people don’t realise how much they are drinking or how long it takes for it to leave their system.
“The morning after is often a time when people get caught out.”
As well as being a danger to others on the road, being caught over the limit can also mean up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a driving ban of at least one year.
Many insurers won’t insure someone with a drink-driving conviction and if they do, the increase in premiums will make 15.1% look like a tiny drop in a plastic beer glass.
If you have been charged with a drink driving offence contact our specialist motoring solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066