What is the drink-drive limit as areas of UK most likely to break law after Christmas party revealed

  • The UK cities most likely to break the drink-drive limit after a Christmas party has been revealed in new survey

  • London has been named the worst offender, followed by Belfast and Liverpool

  • Experts say these findings are a "real eye-opener to how big an issue drink-driving remains", especially during the festive period

  • Read the whole article for the full list of dangerous hot-spots and a reminder of what the legal limit is

Car keys next to beer to represent going over the legal drink-drive limit. (Getty Images)
Don't ever be tempted to get behind the wheel over the legal drink-drive limit. (Getty Images)

As many as 4.5 million UK drivers have got behind the wheel while over the drink-drive limit after a Christmas party, and there are hot-spots to be aware of, according to a new study.

Motorists in London are the most likely to drive after a festive-do while under the influence, with almost one in five (18%) having done this at least once, a poll by experts at iCompario found.

Coming in a close second, a similar number of Belfast residents have got in their cars after too much alcohol (17%), while motorists in Liverpool complete the top three (16%).

Read more: Most popular names for UK cars revealed, from 'Love Machine' to 'Passion Wagon'

London Oxford Street lights at Christmas, with busy road. (Getty Images)
London is the worst offender when it comes to getting behind the wheel after drinking. (Getty Images)

Bristol, Norwich and Newcastle are also guilty of the dangerous act, while Leeds locals (13%) are the most likely to be repeat offenders (7%). Nationally, 1.6 million UK motorists have knowingly driven home over the limit after a Christmas party on more than one occasion.

Mancunians, on the other hand, are the best behaved, with just 2% admitting to drink-driving after a festive occasion, less than any other city.

When quizzed about why they've gone over the limit in the past, one in five drink-drivers (19%) worryingly said 'they didn't think they'd get caught'.

More common excuses given include being 'unable' to get home any other way (43%), and being 'too embarrassed to ask a friend' for assistance (30%). Meanwhile, just 7% put it down to not being able to afford a taxi or wanting to save cash.

Read more: Why do we get anxious when hungover? 'Hanxiety' explained by expert

Leeds main road. (Getty Images)
Leeds residents are most likely to be repeat drink-driving offenders on the roads. (Getty Images)

Men are much more likely to drink-drive this holiday season, with almost one in five having done so, compared to just over one in 20 women.

Meanwhile, one in seven admitted that while they haven't driven home after drinking too much, they've got into the car with someone who has.

More than a quarter of Brits said they did not feel as though they could stop someone driving they suspected to be over the limit, but one in eight of those who didn’t feel comfortable having this conversation said they would be happy to report that person to the police instead.

What is the legal drink-drive limit?

After declining in the early 2000s and 2010s, drink-driving incidents have been on the up since 2014, according to department for transport (DfT) statistics.

While this is still a large decrease on the 5,630 serious collisions recorded in 1979 – the worst year on record – over the last five Christmas periods, nearly 5,000 drink-driving related accidents have been recorded in November and December alone.

"These findings are a real eye-opener to how big an issue drink-driving remains in the UK, with the findings seeming to suggest that the festive period is particularly problematic, with millions of us catching up with colleagues and friends for a drink before the big day," says Kerry Fawcett, digital director at iCompario.

“Whilst many of us will be looking after our spending around this particular Christmas time, the extra expense on a taxi or organising a lift from a close one is absolutely the right thing to do. Many drink drivers convince themselves that they will be ok to drink-drive just once – but even one time is enough to jeopardise the lives of yourself and others and risk a custodial sentence.”

The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, and 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

The drink-drive limit in Scotland is 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, and 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

You can face prison time, a fine and being banned from driving if you're found guilty of drink-driving.

Read more: Binge drinking just once a week raises the risk of health problems almost fivefold

Watch: Police issue drink driving warning after collision in Derby

How likely UK cities are to drink-drive home this Christmas

  1. London – 18%

  2. Belfast – 17%

  3. Liverpool – 16%

  4. Bristol – 14%

  5. Norwich – 13%

  6. Newcastle – 13%

  7. Leeds – 10%

  8. Cardiff – 10%

  9. Nottingham – 8%

  10. Birmingham – 8%

  11. Edinburgh – 7%

  12. Sheffield – 7%

  13. Glasgow – 4%

  14. Southampton – 4%

  15. Manchester – 3%