It is estimated that one in five motorists will drive, knowingly or inadvertently, over the legal drink drive limit during the Christmas period. This will, of course, include motorists who know they have consumed alcohol in excess of the legal limit but will also include a large number of people stopped by police, the morning after a Christmas party.

When a motorist has been consuming significant amounts of alcohol for several nights on the run, not only does the amount in the body naturally start to backup, but the body metabolises it at a slower rate which means it remains in the system for far longer and puts the motorist at increased risk of being over the limit and facing a prosecution for a drink driving charge this Christmas.

That is not the only potential prosecution faced by motorists. Even if a motorist is not over the limit, if, either due to a hangover, late nights, disrupted sleep pattern a motorist is involved in an accident they could face a prosecution for dangerous driving. It is well-established caselaw that if an individual drives whilst not fit through tiredness, illness or other cause, which results in a danger, then the offence of dangerous driving has been committed.  This can result in a prosecution for dangerous driving. Examples include motorists falling asleep at the wheel but they can even include simple cases of motorists failing to notice particular hazards on the road as a result of tiredness which results in very serious, sometimes fatal consequences.

Furthermore, the general public regard the offence of drug-driving as driving whilst having cannabis, cocaine or other illegal drugs in the system. An increased number of prosecutions for drug driving are arising from people having been stopped by the police or involved in an accident, whilst having significant quantities of over-the-counter medication in the system. The primary example of this is motorists being prosecuted for drink-driving due to unlawfully high levels of codeine in the system. Codeine, an opiate,  is known to cause drowsiness and lack of concentration. The legal limits of this medication are low. Another potential that the motorist therefore has to look out for is taking significant amounts of codeine based medication, especially if being taken to cure a hangover!