Summer Drinking

Barbecues, festivals and driving

it's easy to lose track of alcohol consumption at a long, hot summer barbecue

In summer, just like winter, If you drive don't drink, and if you drink don't drive.

The Police started a new drink-driving campaign at the beginning of June, and police officers will be out in force during the campaign in a bid to crack down on those who think they can drink and drive and get away with it.

Police will also be checking on drivers who may be impaired by drugs.

Summer is different

Winter in general and Christmas in particular are the traditional target for drink-driving campaigns.

Though summer social activity may be different the drink drive dangers are still there.

Summer can mean that alcohol is consumed at a different pace, and in a different way which, though creating the same effects, may do so less noticeably.


A summer barbecue may well run for longer than just going round to see friends, or meeting them in the pub, and because you're hot you are probably thirsty and more likely to drink more.

Drinks may be topped-up, rather than new ones poured or bought, making it harder to keep track of what's being drunk.

Cocktails, punches and long summer drinks can make it difficult to know how much alcohol you're consuming too.

Even beer drinkers may struggle to find out how strong their drink is.

Having a meal at the same time can slow the rate of absorption of alcohol into the body making it harder to notice the effect.

If the Barbecue is at lunchtime it is easy to stay for longer than originally planned, again running the risk of drinking too much.

2009 campaign

Last year just over 121,000 people were stopped and tested during the 30-day summer campaign with 5.79% – around 7000 people testing positive or refusing a test.

Tests after accidents

Some of drink-drive tests will be conducted because the police are looking for drink drivers, but others will be as part of standard police policy to test all drivers involved in accidents.

This testing after an accident is important – how ever well you think you can drive, however well you think you can take alcohol, you can't guarantee that another driver won't make a mistake that leads to an accident.

All drivers get breathalysed, not just those responsible for the accident.


This summer's campaign is also looking for drugged drivers. It is well known that there are many people who don't use drugs regularly but may at just one or two summer festivals.

Among festival-goers, this group is significant so the police are much more likely to test for drugs during the festival season.

Join the discussion in the AA zone


3 June 2010