UK Drink Driving Since 1979: The Statistics

UK Drink Driving Since 1979: The Statistics

Business owners – are you regularly arranging for small office parties, meetups or events – and serve alcohol-based drinks in the venues? If so, you need to be aware of the legal consequences, such as drink driving. Before you serve more alcohols in your next event, be sure to read this article.

Wine in office event

The drink driving trends

1979 saw the dawn of detailed records being kept regarding drink driving and that year alone there were a staggering 31,430 casualties recorded. Since then the total number of casualties has decreased and in 2010 there were 9,690.

The number of deaths attributed to drink driving has also decreased, there were 1640 in 1979, compared to 240 in 2010. Interestingly, from 2010 onward the number of casualties and deaths has lingered around the same figure.

It has been argued that there would be a continued decrease in casualties and fatalities if the drink driving limit were to be reduced.

Limits to adhere

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. In comparison to European countries this is on the high side (the average is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood). In 2011, despite heavy debate and a review calling for a reduced limit, England, Ireland and Wales chose to maintain the 80mg limit already in place. Conversely, in 2014 Scotland reduced their drink driving limit to 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, the consensus being that roads would be safer.

Some European countries go one further and employ a zero limit drink drive limit or different limits dependent on age or profession.

Legal implications and consequences

In the UK, between 2005 and 2015, a total of 595,093 people were convicted of drink driving and 84% of these were male. Records indicate that males in the age bracket 17-29 are most likely to drink and drive.

Drink driving

The penalties of drink driving vary dependent on the severity of the offence. Penalties include fines, driving bans (there may be an option to decrease the length of the ban by undertaking a rehab course) and custodial sentences. A charge of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol can result in imprisonment for up to 14 years and even a lesser charge, such as being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink, can carry a 3-month prison sentence.

Aside from the legal implications there are other consequences including the exorbitant rise in motor insurance premiums and if a ban is involved, the added cost (and inconvenience) of public transport. Employment can be effected (particularly if the role involves driving) and there may be difficulties in arranging trips to certain countries e.g. USA and Canada. On top of this there is a social stigma associated with a drink drive conviction, resulting in an adverse impact on all involved.


Those facing drink drive charges are wise to seek the services of professionals who are conversant with this area of expertise, these being specialist drink driving solicitors who can offer advice and support.

Ivan Widjaya

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.