Police launch Christmas drink-driving clampdown

Police forces across the UK have launched their Christmas drink-drive campaigns, ramping up patrols and checkpoints for random breath tests.

Efforts to curb the number of intoxicated motorists on the roads over the festive period have been upped in many areas of the country, with police forces and road safety partnerships launching initiatives to promote annual anti-drugs and drink-driving campaigns.

York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership began its seasonal appeal against driving while under the influence at the start of the month – only seven days after the campaign began 21 people had been arrested in that area, compared to a total of 100 over the whole of last year’s operation.

Counties such as Essex, Hampshire and the Greater Manchester area have employed more resources too, making “several arrests” especially over the weekends since the beginning of the month.

Recent news that “sobering-up” time for drivers stopped on suspicion of driving while unfit through drink or drugs is to be abolished thanks to new super-accurate breath testing machines proves the police’s intent to catch criminal drivers.

Last year’s festive crackdown saw more than 7,200 motorists arrested for alcohol-related offences behind the wheel out of a total of nearly 157,000 people breathalysed between the 1 December 2011 and 1 January this year. Road safety bodies still feel that this proportion isn’t enough, however.

The Association of Chief Police Officers found that drivers aged under 25 were 5.7% more likely to drive while drunk, compared to only 4% of motorists over that threshold.



Registrations of new vehicles in the UK have continued to grow, despite unfavourable economic conditions, establishing the United Kingdom as the second largest car market in all of Europe.

Registrations rose by 11.3% in November and have been on the up every month since March this year. This means the UK market is up by 5.4% in 2012.

The UK is bucking the trend of dwindling car sales across the continent, with Germany down 1.6%, Spain lagging by 11.9%, France trailing by 13.2% and Italy down nearly one fifth at 19.8%.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Executive, Paul Everitt:

“New car registrations rose 11.3% in November, positioning the UK new car market as the second largest in Europe.

“The outlook for 2013 remains challenging, but vehicle manufacturers and their dealers will continue to work hard to attract motorists to their showrooms and deliver outstanding value.

“The upward trend has been driven by private retail customers.”

This means retail sales outpaced even the overall UK market growth last month, rising a full 20% – probably down to attractive offers and new efficient cars that offer significant fuel savings.