Fears of spike in drink-driving as pubs reopen
Drink-driving cases could hit a new record this summer as pubs and bars in England reopen their doors after more than three months in lockdown – but with public transport restrictions still in place.
New research from Confused.com reveals nearly one in three (30%) UK drivers will be heading to pubs to celebrate their reopening, with most (80%) planning to have a drink (or two).
However, a third (33%) of these motorists – equivalent to nearly five million – are planning to get behind the wheel to go for a drink, as restrictions on public transport remain. And one in 20 (5%) motorists say they’d consider driving home after a few drinks if social distancing stopped them from getting a taxi or a lift.
The summer is already a prolific time for drink-driving; almost 3,000 motorists were caught under the influence in July 2019, with more than 40,000 found driving under the influence throughout the course of the year.
Worryingly, the research by Confused.com found one in 20 motorists (5%) think it’s acceptable to drive over the limit when the roads are quieter due to lockdown measures.
To add to this, lockdown has caused many people to increase their drinking habits, as a quarter of people (25%) admit they are drinking more than usual under the circumstances.
As it stands, almost a third (31%) of UK drivers are confused about the legal drink-driving limit. And according to the research, more than half (57%) would feel safe to drive after one or two drinks, while shockingly, a further 4% would consider driving after a third drink.
Representatives for the emergency services have also called for members of the public to drink in moderation, enjoy themselves responsibly and respect blue light personnel, as concerns mount that pub go-ers may ‘over-do’ it this weekend, with repercussions for both the emergency services and the social distancing measures still in place in the UK.
National Police Chiefs’ council chair, Martin Hewitt said: “We know that the public will feel a sense of relief that things are slowly getting back to normal and will want to take this new opportunity to enjoy themselves with their friends and family. We want everyone to have a good time but please do so safely, responsibly, and with due regard for the public health measures in place.
“Coronavirus still presents a significant and deadly threat to public health. Don’t be a drain on the emergency services by drinking too much or through anti-social behaviour. Please also reassess your plans if you arrive somewhere and establish that social distancing isn’t achievable.”