Motorists issued urgent New Year's warning as they risk 'more than just a fine or losing their licence'

Motorists issued urgent New Year's warning as they risk 'more than just a fine or losing their licence'

Motorists are being warned of being distracted at the wheel or drink driving

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 30/12/2023

- 15:07

Many Britons have admitted to hearing drivers say they will be able to go on the roads even after having a drink

Road safety experts are urging all Britons to ensure that no one gets behind the wheel after celebrating the new year.

With New Year’s Eve around the corner, Britons will be getting ready to celebrate going into 2024 with parties and fireworks up and down the country.

However, motoring experts are warning drivers of the enormous consequences they face for drinking and then getting behind the wheel.

The DVSA has warned drivers, urging them to stay safe on the roads this holiday season by not drinking and driving, as well as avoiding being on the road when they’re tired.

Driver being breathalysed by the police

Experts are urging drivers not to drink and drive during the New Year’s period


Nearly four million designated drivers have admitted to drinking on New Year’s Eve, despite being trusted to take people home at the end of the night.

New data has also found that around 60 per cent of people said if they wanted to have a drink on New Year’s Eve, nothing would persuade them to drive instead.

Almost a third of Britons said they could be convinced to stay sober for the celebrations and do the driving if they have their food and drink covered by other people in their group.

This is followed by 25 per cent of people who said they could be persuaded by having the fuel costs covered or trading NYE for other big nights out during the festive period (24 per cent).

A drink conviction can result in up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving for two years.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit says: “Drinking and driving should never mix, and it's vital people can rely on their designated driver to get them home safely, especially if public transport is limited and taxis are in huge demand.

“However, a designated New Year’s Eve driver is chosen, there’s no excuse for them to let their group down by then drinking and not being able to drive.

“We urge all those who are going out this New Year to decide who is driving well before the night, agree on what, if anything, the driver should get in return, and then stick to it.

“But whatever the agreement, no one should be getting behind the wheel after drinking.”

Research has also shown that someone saying “I’ve only had one drink” is the most common excuse for drinking and driving.

A staggering six in 10 people have heard a driver say that before getting back behind the wheel.

Other common excuses include claiming to be sober because they’ve eaten a large meal (41 per cent) and saying it’s only a short journey (40 per cent).

Concerningly, more than one in 10 people have heard a driver say they won’t be caught because it will be a quiet journey and they know the route well.

Edmund King, Director of The AA Charitable Trust, reiterated the call from the DVSA and Kwik Fit, saying that drivers should not let their first drink be their last.


Car keys next to a pint of beer

Drivers could face up to 14 years in prison for drink driving


He added: “Just one drink can be enough to put you over the drink-drive limit, and even if you are within the limit, it can still affect your judgement and ability to drive safely.

“We need drivers to hang up these excuses for good. Drinking and driving simply do not mix – if you are doing one, then you shouldn’t do the other.

“Drivers risk more than just a fine or losing their licence when they drink drive. Every year hundreds of people needlessly die on our roads because of drunk drivers.”

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