Drink Driving

Drink Driving


  • Driving after drinking alcohol is a major cause of death and injury on the roads. Alcohol impairs many of the functions necessary for safe driving, for example decreasing motor skills and reducing reaction time.

  • There have been sustained enforcement and education efforts in the UK to prevent drink driving. Alongside these efforts, there has been a substantial decline in the number of alcohol-related deaths and injuries since the late 1970s.

  • The majority of people now consider drink driving to be socially unacceptable, and self-report surveys consistently demonstrate that drink driving is a major road safety concern for respondents.

  • However, despite the enforcement and education efforts, a significant minority of individuals continue to drive when impaired by alcohol, whether above or below the prescribed limit.

  • It is well documented that the risk of road traffic injury and collision increases rapidly with alcohol consumption. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood (20mg/100ml) and 50mg/100ml have at least a 3 times greater risk of dying in a crash. This risk increases to at least six times with a BAC between 50mg/100ml and 80mg/100ml, and to 11 times with a BAC between 80mg/100ml and 100mg/100ml.

  • In 2015, 200 people were killed in drink drive accidents in Great Britain, 12 per cent of all deaths in reported road accidents that year. This was a decrease of 40 from the previous year, although this was not statistically significant. 1,170 people were seriously injured in drink drive accidents, a 9% increase from 2014, which was statistically significant. The total number of casualties in drink drive accidents in 2015 was 8,470, 3% more than in 2014. (Final Estimates for Accidents Involving Illegal Alcohol Levels: 2015, DfT, 2017)
  • Young car drivers are more at risk of crash and injury after drinking than older drivers, most likely due to inexperience and lower tolerance to alcohol. Young car drivers (aged 17-24) had more drink drive accidents per 100 thousand licence holders and per billion miles driven than any other age group, and the rate declines with age.

  • Women are less likely than men to be involved or injured in drink-drive accidents. Most convicted drink drivers are men, however the proportion of women convicted for drink drive offences is rising.

  • Various measures have been successful in reducing drink driving including drink drive laws and penalties, media and campaigns, and remedial education. The extent of the success of these measures is dependent on many factors, and a combination of measures is likely to be most effective in reducing drink driving.


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:10 AM
  • Last Update: 10 Aug 2017, 10:38 AM