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Drink Driving in the UK
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Drink Driving Statistics

Drink Driving Statistics

Between 1979 and 2014

An average of 666 people were killed in drink driving related accidents in Great Britain each year.

An average of 3,551 people were seriously injured in drink driving related accidents in Great Britain each year.

Approximately 85,000 people are convicted of drink driving related offences each and every year in England and Wales alone.

The majority of those convicted are male (approximately 85%).

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DRINK DRIVING CASUALTY STATISTICS (1979 - 2014)

The following casualty estimated statistics include people who were killed, seriously injured of slightly injured in drink drive accidents in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) between 1979 and 2014.

Information sources to create the statistics include the police force, hospitals, death registrations and coroner's reports.

Drink Driving Casualty Statistics 1979-2014
YEARKilled
(Deaths)
Injured
(Serious)
Injured
(Slight)
Total
19791,6408,30021,49031,430
19801,4507,97020,42029,830
19811,4207,37019,16027,950
19821,5508,01020,66030,220
19831,1106,80018,61026,520
19841,1706,82019,41027,390
19851,0406,81019,38027,220
19869906,44019,22026,650
19879005,90017,67024,470
19887905,10016,86022,740
19898104,79016,62022,220
19907604,09015,55020,400
19916603,61013,61017,880
19926603,28012,77016,710
19935402,66011,78014,980
19945402,84011,78015,160
19955403,00012,45016,000
19965803,01013,45017,040
19975502,94013,31016,800
19984602,52012,61015,580
19994602,47013,98016,910
20005302,54014,99018,060
20015302,70015,55018,780
20025502,79016,76020,100
20035802,59015,82018,990
20045802,34014,06016,980
20055502,09012,76015,400
20065601,97011,85014,370
20074101,76011,85014,020
20084001,62010,97012,990
20093801,50010,15012,030
20102401,2408,2109,690
20112401,2708,4209,930
20122301,2008,5109,930
20132401,1006,9308,270
20142401,0706,9008,210
20152001,1707,1008,470
20162301,2507,5509,040
TOTAL24,880132,510514,520671,850
Source: Department for Transport, Road Accidents and Safety Statistics


DRINK DRIVING CONVICTIONS (2005 - 2015)

The following statistical information on drink driving related offences applies to convictions in England and Wales, UK only.

The figures in the tables below represent defendants who were convicted of that particular offence as the principal offence dealt with at court. The figures may be lower than the total number of people convicted of a particular offence in a given year as they do not include data where defendants were convicted of two or more offences where the other offence attracted a heavier penalty.

* Where the total number of convictions in a particular year does not tally with the number of males convicted plus the number of females convicted it means that there was a certain number of convictions counted towards the total where the sex of the defendant was not available when compiling the statistics.


Drink Driving Conviction Statistics (2005 - 2015)

A total of 613,090 people were charged with drink driving during this period. Statistics show that 595,093 (97%) of defendants charged were subsequently convicted while 17,997 (97%) were not convicted.

Convictions under S.5(1)(a) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit) [1]

Driving / Attempting to Drive with excess alcohol
YEARConvictions
(Total)
Convictions
(Male)
Convictions
(Female)
200572,12763,3198,808
200672,14563,0159,130
200769,59460,0609,493
200862,63553,0789,493
200959,76149,9459,658
201050,53641,8838,358
201147,53939,1968,185
201244,64236,2988,164
201340,68333,2087,317
201437,85330,5377,147
201537,57830,3577,007
TOTAL595,093500,89692,679
Source: Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice System Statistics Publication

Between the years 2005 and 2015:

An average of 54,099 people were convicted of driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place while over the legal limit each year.

Out of the total number of people convicted of drink driving between 2005 and 2015:

  • The majority of convicted drink drivers were male (84%) compared to female (16%)
  • 76% of defendants received a fine
  • 16% of defendants received a community order
  • 3% of defendants received a suspended sentence
  • 2% of defendants were sentenced to immediate custody
  • 0.5% of defendants received a conditional discharge
  • 0.2% of defendants received an absolute discharge

Prison Sentence

Out of the 5% of defendants that received a custodial sentence (suspended or otherwise):

  • 6488 offenders received a custodial sentence of up to and including 3 months
  • 5385 offenders received a custodial sentence of over 3 months and up to 6 months
  • 226 offenders received a custodial sentence of 6 months
  • 3 offenders received a custodial sentence of over 6 months but less than 12 months

Fines

Out of the 76% of defendants that received a fine:

  • 400 had to pay a fine of up to and including £25
  • 5292 had to pay a fine over £25 and up to £50
  • 77,757 had to pay a fine over £50 and up to £100
  • 82,320 had to pay a fine over £100 and up to £150
  • 78,700 had to pay a fine over £150 and up to £200
  • 58,341 had to pay a fine over £200 and up to £250
  • 52,747 had to pay a fine over £250 and up to £300
  • 78,583 had to pay a fine over £300 and up to £500
  • 13,619 had to pay a fine over £500 and up to £750
  • 4653 had to pay a fine over £750 and up to £1,000
  • 2071 had to pay a fine over £1,000 and up to £2,500
  • 205 had to pay a fine over £2,500 and up to £5,000

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Failing to Provide Specimen for Analysis While Driving (2005 - 2015)

A total of 61,712 people were charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis while driving a motor vehicle during this period. Statistics show that 55,812 (90%) of defendants charged were subsequently convicted while 5,900 (10%) were not convicted.

Convictions under S.7(6) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Failing to Provide an Evidential Specimen of Breath, Blood or Urine) while driving [1]

Driving / Attempting to Drive (Fail to Provide)
YEARConvictions
(Total)
Convictions
(Male)
Convictions
(Female)
20057,7746,804970
20067,4916,4331,058
20077,7326,6641,062
20086,9765,8731,074
20096,3225,2621,039
201071864072
201162256853
20123,4142,810593
20134,8743,989872
20144,8703,976876
20155,0194,094887
TOTAL55,81247,1138,556
Source: Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice System Statistics Publication

Between the years 2005 and 2015:

An average of 5,073 people were convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis while driving each year.

Out of the total number of people convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis while driving between 2005 and 2015:

  • The majority of those convicted were male (85%), compared to female (15%)
  • 63% of those convicted received a fine
  • 22.5% of those convicted received a community order
  • 6% of those convicted received a suspended custodial sentence
  • nearly 5% of those convicted received an immediate custodial sentence
  • just over 1% received a conditional discharge

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In Charge of a Vehicle While Over the Legal Limit (2005 - 2015)

A total of 20,434 people were charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the legal limit during this period. Statistics show that 15,454 (76%) of defendants charged were subsequently convicted while 4,980 (24%) were not convicted.

Convictions under S.5(1)(b) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Being in charge of a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit) [1]

In charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol
YEARConvictions
(Total)
Convictions
(Male)
Convictions
(Female)
20051,6921,510182
20061,576151151
20071,4441,425174
20081,3651,269164
20091,4991,295197
20101,3921,182208
20111,3621,177184
20121,2161,033177
20131,2711,064201
20141,2251,035184
20151,4121,171231
TOTAL15,45413,3522,053
Source: Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice System Statistics Publication

Between the years 2005 and 2015:

An average of 1,405 people were convicted of being in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place each year while over the legal limit.

Out of the total number of people convicted of being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the legal limit between 2005 and 2015:

  • The majority of those convicted were male (86%), compared to female (13%)
  • 81% of those convicted received a fine
  • 13% of those convicted received a community order
  • nearly 2% of those convicted received a suspended custodial sentence
  • 1.5% of those convicted received an immediate custodial sentence
  • just over 1% received a conditional discharge
  • the remaining were otherwise dealt with

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Fail To Provide Specimen for Analysis while in Charge of a Motor Vehicle (2005 - 2015)

A total of 7,481 people were charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis while in charge of a motor vehicle during this period. Statistics show that 6,678 (89%) of defendants charged were subsequently convicted while 803 (11%) were not convicted.

Convictions under S.7(6) of The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Failing to Provide an Evidential Specimen of Breath, Blood or Urine) while in charge of a motor vehicle [1]

In Charge of a Motor Vehicle (Fail to Provide)
YEARConvictions
(Total)
Convictions
(Male)
Convictions
(Female)
200579571580
200675766097
2007778663115
200857048385
200957048777
201050243071
201153044189
201250641192
201354045682
201454244993
201558849090
TOTAL6,6785,685971
Source: Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice System Statistics Publication

Between the years 2005 and 2015:

An average of 871 people were convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis while being in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place each year.

Out of the total number of people convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis while being in charge of a motor vehicle between 2005 and 2015:

  • The majority of those convicted were male (85%), compared to female (15%)
  • 71% of those convicted received a fine
  • 19% of those convicted received a community order
  • 3% of those convicted received an immediate prison sentence
  • 3% of those convicted received a suspended prison sentence
  • nearly 2% of those convicted received a conditional discharge
  • the remaining were otherwise dealt with

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Last Updated: March 16 2019

Sources:

Ministry of Justice Statistics

Reference:

[1] Road Traffic Act 1988