DEVON and Cornwall Police has warned drivers of the “disastrous consequences” of drink driving after figures released by the force revealed a worrying number of arrests for the offence during the summer months.
Police data revealed that 526 people were caught drink driving in 2013 during the summer months (June, July, August) - while more than half (51%) of drink drivers in the South West offended during the summer months.
A police spokesperson said: “We want to continue highlighting how making a wrong decision when you've been drinking can have serious consequences for you, your family, your friends and the rest of your life.
"Making any journey while over the legal limit could have disastrous consequences and will result in the driver being arrested - it's not worth the risk.
“In recent years, young people in particular have featured more highly in detection figures.
"We are seeing more drivers in general who are over the limit during the daytime and we ensure our tests are not just focused on the evenings and early mornings.
“Friends and family can play a part in stopping a loved one getting into a car whilst under the influence. With forward planning, if you are going to be drinking alcohol, either arrange alternative transport (bus/taxi/rail) or ensure one of the group you are with is a designated driver” and does not drink alcohol that night.”
The data was requested by insurance company Confused.com whose accompanying study found that nearly half of motorists in the South West (49%) believe that there is more temptation to drink alcohol during the summer months - with nearly two-fifths (39%) admitting that they are more inclined to have an alcoholic drink when the suns out.
However, this combination of warm weather and a busy social calendar is creating a dangerous cocktail for road users.
Gemma Stanbury, Head of Motor Insurance at Confused.com, said: “This is the time of year that many people choose to throw an impromptu barbecue or spend a sunny afternoon in a beer garden or social gathering.
“It's all too easy to forget the amount of alcohol consumed throughout an afternoon and/or evening and how much remains in the system the following day.
“Some people think that drinking and driving is a problem just at Christmas, however it is an all year round issue. In fact, more than half (51%) of drink drivers in the South West offend during the summer months.”
Summer drink driving arrests
1. Northern Ireland Police Service: 853 offenders caught
2. Greater Manchester Police: 807 offenders caught
3. Thames Valley Police: 711 offenders caught
4. Devon and Cornwall Constabulary: 526 offenders caught
5. Hampshire Constabulary: 523 offenders caught