Belfast Telegraph

New Year's Day the worst for drink-drive offences, says PSNI

By Adrian Rutherford

New Year's Day is one of the worst dates for drink-driving offences in Northern Ireland, police figures reveal.

Nearly 50 people were caught over the limit on January 1 in 2016 and 2017 combined.

With many planning parties to celebrate the arrival of 2018, the PSNI has issued a fresh warning about the risks of getting behind the wheel after taking alcohol.

A survey shows that, across the UK, New Year's Day has been the worst date for the offence in each of the last four years.

A total of 119 motorists were caught drink-driving on January 1 this year - the most recorded on a single day in 2017.

One in four (25%) drivers also admitted they have driven in the morning, despite thinking they might still be over the limit from the night before, a report by insurance comparison site found.

Researchers who compiled the survey sent Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the UK requesting the top three dates for drink-drive offences for 2016 and 2017.

Locally, January 1 was the top date for drink-driving (29 offences) in Northern Ireland in 2016, and the third highest in 2017, when 20 offenders were caught.

PSNI Chief Inspector Diane Pennington said: "It's disappointing that despite our warnings, there are still people who completely disregard the safety of themselves and others by continuing this shameful and incredibly dangerous practice.

"We should not be detecting anyone drink-driving. Our message is very simple: Never, ever drink and drive. Just one drink can impair your decision-making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill."

Chief Inspector Pennington added: "Road Policing officers, local and neighbourhood policing teams and our TSG (Tactical Support Group) colleagues are determined to catch those people who take life-threatening, unacceptable and simply stupid risks."

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, said: "New Year's Day is a fresh start for a lot of people, but unfortunately some drivers are starting the year the wrong way.

"The fact the most offenders are consistently caught on this day suggests drivers are getting behind the wheel while they're still over the limit from seeing in the New Year the night before."

Despite numerous campaigns, drink-driving is still proving to be an issue on UK roads.

So far this year, 31,314 people have failed roadside breathalyser tests, with 3,542 offences recorded in January alone.

Belfast Telegraph

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