The number of drink and drug driving conditions on UK roads has continued to fall, with the COVID-19 related lockdowns over the last 12 months believed to be responsible. With pubs, bars and restaurants closed repeatedly and many of us travelling less, it comes as no surprise that the number of people offending has dropped.
A decline in drink-related driving offences for most of the UK
According to MoneySuperMarket.com, research shows that conviction rates for drink driving offences have continued their downward trajectory. The research shows a year-on-year decline, with 0.86 drivers per 1000 in 2019 reporting offences and 0.79 per 1000 drivers in 2020 reporting offences.
However, drug-related driving offences have continued to increase, with the data showing that from 2018 until 2020, convictions for drug driving rose from 0.11 per 1000 drivers to 0.17 per 1000. The pandemic and the associated restrictions which forced many of us to stay at home are an obvious explanation for the drop in drink driving offences, however, the increase in drug driving offences is clearly an area that causes concern.
Three areas of the UK record an increase in drink driving
Despite the huge fall in traffic in 2020 and the overall decrease in drink and drug driving offences, three UK police force areas actually recorded an increase in drink and drug driving. According to This Is Money, police forces in Wiltshire, Humberside and the City of London recorded more offences in 2020 than 2019.
In fact, the Humberside Police recorded a 131 per cent increase year-on-year, with 104 drink or drug-related offences in 2020 compared to 45 in 2019. These increases are concerning given the significant drop in traffic due to lockdown restrictions, with 80 per cent lower traffic volumes reported across the country.
Will the overall downward trajectory of drink driving offences continue?
As the restrictions begin to ease, it is important to remain vigilant when driving, as it can be hard to know whether you have stepped over the legal drinking limit to drive. We are all looking forward to pubs reopening, but if you are in doubt about whether you are over the limit, do not risk it.
Drink and drug driving will put yourself and others at risk, not to mention high fines, driving bans and the increased cost of car insurance. In fact, according to I Am Road Smart, the personal financial cost of a drink driving offence could be in the region of £70,000.
This figure takes into account legal fees, fines, car insurance premiums, new transport costs and even the potential loss of salary following a conviction. These figures are based on an average salary, so in reality, the personal financial impact on you could be much higher, not to mention the danger involved to you and others.
The development of anti-drink driving technology
CarWow, the car buying comparison site, carried out research with 2000 people relating to their thoughts on reducing drink driving offences. The survey found that 38% thought that anti-drink driving technology should be installed in all cars, with a variety of systems already in development.
A great example is the Alcoclock, which is an in-car breathalyser that links to your car’s ignition. If the device reads that you are above the drink and drive limit, you will not be able to start your car. It is predicted that Tesla will be the most likely manufacturer to introduce the first drink driving technology, although Volvo is well underway with its developments.
The Volvo system uses sensors and cameras to monitor your driving ability. If the car picks up that you are not driving safely, it will take control and move you to a safe stop at the edge of the road. The technology required to monitor alcohol levels has been around for many years, however, it is reliant on consumers and lawmakers agreeing to its implementation.
What are the laws on drink driving?
The amount of alcohol it takes to be above the limit to drive after having a drink will vary between individuals, with factors such as age, weight, gender, metabolism, fatigue, and hydration all varying individual limits. This is why so many campaigns focus on never driving after a drink, as it can be so difficult to know the line.
In terms of the amount of alcohol you can have in your system, the limits vary between Scotland and the rest of the UK:
1) Breath – In a standard breathalyser test, you must have a reading of below 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath or 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath in Scotland.
2) Blood – In a blood test, you must have a reading of below 80 micrograms per 100 millilitres of blood or 50 micrograms per 100 millilitres of blood in Scotland.
3) Urine – In a urine test, you must have a reading of below 107 micrograms per 100 millilitres of urine or 67 micrograms per 100 millilitres of urine in Scotland.
It is a common misconception that you can only be convicted for drink driving if you are actually driving a vehicle. However, under the Road Traffic Act 1988, the law extends to those carrying car keys or even just retrieving belongings from a parked vehicle. The best advice is to leave your car keys at home and steer clear of your vehicle completely if you are drinking.
Competitive insurance for those with drink driving convictions
It is positive to see the ongoing fall in drink and drug driving offences, however, there are still many people across the country who require competitive drink drive car insurance following a conviction. We have partnered with leading UK brokers so that you can find the best quotes, whether you have a driving conviction, a criminal conviction, or points on your licence.
The cost of insurance will increase for those with convictions, however, there are companies available that offer competitive prices based on your claim’s history. Whether you have recently had a driving ban lifted or are looking for a quote following a fine, we will help you find the best policy. To find out more, please contact our team today.