Revealed – the trades professions most likely to be caught drink driving, but why?

A study has revealed the trades professions most likely to be convicted of drink driving, and the results may offer a revealing insight into the reasons.

The risk of a guilty drink driving charge is directly linked to higher future car insurance premiums. A study by IAM Roadsmart, formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists, suggests that the average increased cost of insurance premiums runs to £13,500 over the five years following conviction. Add on fines, potential lost earnings and legal costs and the price of drinking and driving can be significant.

The most likely trades to drink and drive

The research by Moneysupermarket analysed over six million car insurance quotes over 12 months during 2020. The results suggest that roofers are the most likely trade to have a drink driving conviction, with 6.1 per 1,000 drivers, followed by plumbers and scaffolders at a rate of 6.0 per 1,000.

The full results of trades professions and their drink driving conviction rates have yet to be published, but the results from the same study conducted during the previous year provide us with an indication of the overall picture.

That study from car insurance quotes provided between November 2018 and October 2019 found the following rates of drink driving convictions per trade:

  • Plumbers at 10.7 per 1,000
  • Builders at 6.6 per 1,000
  • Ground workers at 6.5 per 1,000
  • Roofers at 5.4 per 1,000
  • Scaffolders at 5.4 per 1,000
  • Plasterers at 4.6 per 1,000
  • Landscape gardeners at 4 per 1,000
  • Construction workers at 4 per 1,000
  • Bricklayers at 3.7 per 1,000

What this means for trades professionals and insurance

For anyone who works in a trade profession or who works in the construction industry as a whole, the results are a revealing insight into how car insurance premiums are calculated and why they might be relatively high.

Insurance firms use a range of factors about you as an individual to calculate the amount that your premium comes to. One of these is the field of work in which you operate.

The rate you pay for car insurance reflects the risk that the provider feels you and your vehicle pose to making a claim. Insurance companies consider that occupations are linked to risky behaviour. They use data such as that provided above to come to an overall conclusion.

Therefore, the information on drink driving rates per profession will be one factor used to calculate your own quotation for a car insurance premium. If you work in the trades and in construction, your quote may be higher than people who work in other sectors as a direct result.

Why are trades professionals at higher risk of drink driving?

It seems that if you work in a trade, on average, you may be considered to be at greater risk of being convicted of drink driving. Why this is, is likely a combination of several circumstances linked to the professions themselves and perhaps lifestyles associated with them.

Alcohol may be a part of daily life for some in the trades and construction. This may well be a long-standing cultural tradition in some sectors where workers capped the conclusion of their days with a hard-drinking session.

We also know that many tradespeople will start their day’s work extremely early in the morning. This increases the risk of being caught under the influence of alcohol after drinking the night before. Many people are still surprised at how little they have to drink on an evening to be still over the legal limit the following morning.

Additionally, many tradespeople simply drive more miles than the average person. If you’re a plumber with many residential customers or one who travels from construction site to construction site, you will rack up plenty of mileage each year. This has a double impact on risk. Convicted drivers insurance companies will always consider that the more miles you drive, the greater risk you are of being in an accident and making a claim. It may also increase your risk of being caught over the limit when behind the wheel than someone who tends to be based predominantly on one site.

It’s also true that working in a trade can be an extremely stressful and pressure-filled way to make a living. Add to that the fact that many tradespeople are self-employed, and that brings added pressures of running their own business, meaning there may be additional factors leading to the risk of overconsuming alcohol.

What to consider if you’re a tradesperson comparing car insurance with a driving conviction

It can sometimes be worthwhile thinking carefully about describing your profession when seeking a quote for car insurance. You can’t lie to insurers about your profession, but some roles can be described differently, and there can sometimes be significant differences in cost between different definitions. However, if your main occupation is as a plumber, at the end of the day, you are a plumber!

What perhaps is of more concern is the stark fact that the figures above suggest that in the UK, one in 100 plumbers, one in 120 builders and one in 200 landscape gardeners has a drink driving conviction, and so on.

There is a growing recognition within trades industries of the need to support people with mental health issues, which extends to alcohol problems.

However, there are still many tradespeople who have difficulty finding competitive drink-drive car insurance following a conviction.

At Total Insurance, we partner with leading UK brokers to offer the best quotes for tradesman insurance. We also work closely with companies who offer competitive prices for those with a drink driving conviction or those who have points on their licence. For both of these reasons, we can help you find the very best policy to match your circumstances.

The cost of insurance will increase for those with drink driving convictions. However, there are companies available that offer competitive prices based on your entire driving history.