Skip to Content
5 minute read Lifestyle

The UK’s Drink Drive Hotspots Revealed

We took a look at Government data from the past five years to find out precisely what the stats are on people choosing to get behind the wheel of a car while above the legal limit.

by Jon Walker

In the run up to Christmas, we tend to see a rise in drink driving incidents. These accidents, injuries and fatalities could easily be avoided, and the fatality figures go to show just how many lives could have been saved had those wishing to enjoy a drink chosen the more responsible route of taking a taxi home.

We took a look at Government data from the past five years to find out precisely what the stats are on people choosing to get behind the wheel of a car while above the legal limit.

UK's Drink Drive Hotspots

Where are the UK’s drink drive hotspots?

When studying the official statistics which showcase the number of accidents caused by drink driving in each region and calculating this per 100,000 capita, we can reveal the UK’s drink drive hotspots as:

Casualties Per 100,000 Capita*
East Midlands 17.44
South East 16.57
West Midlands 16.49
Wales 16.01
East 15.57
Yorkshire 15.37
South West 15.30
North West 13.48
North East 13.12
Scotland 9.45
London 6.23

East Midlands as the region of the UK with the highest number of casualties per 100,000 capita caused by drink driving.

*Calculated using averages of casualty figures for the 5 years from 2012 – 16.

Are young people really the most likely to drink drive?

In the past 5 years, 3.3% of those breath tested as a result of being involved in an accident failed, however the most common age bracket for failing a breath test were 25-29 year olds, making up 5.11% of those who were drunk at the wheel…

Age Failed Breath Tests
Under 17 2.72%
17-19 2.60%
20-24 4.96%
25-29 5.11%
30-34 4.45%
35-39 3.60%
40-49 2.80%
50-59 2.06%
60-69 1.57%
70 and over 0.83%
All ages 3.30%

Which gender is most likely to get behind the wheel after a drink?

Looking back at data from the past 5 years, men are 3.7x more likely to drink drive than women:

Gender Average Drink Drive Accidents Per Year
Males 4,658
Females 1,258

When are drink drive accidents most likely to happen?

Statistically, drivers involved in an accident most commonly fail a breath test on a Sunday, with between 4am and 5am being the most common time of day to test as over the legal limit on this day.

However, although in general the highest number of road traffic accidents happen between 5-6pm on the daily commute home from work, the most incidents where the driver involved failed a breathalyser test occur between the hours of 1am and 5am.
The number of drink drive casualties is on the rise…

How many fatalities on the road occur as a result of drink driving?

Over the last 5 years, 16% of drivers or riders killed in accidents were over the legal alcohol limit. Out of those, 8% were over twice the legal limit.

Across the same period, 375 drivers have been killed due to being over the legal limit. These are all accidents that could have been avoided!

Drink Drive Limits: UK vs The World

In England and Wales, the drink drive limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, but how does this compare around the world when looking at a selection of 35 countries?


Country Drink Drive Limit (BAC)
Australia 0.05%
Austria 0.05%
Canada 0.08%
Czech Republic 0.00%
Denmark 0.05%
Estonia 0.02%
Finland 0.05%
France 0.05%
Germany 0.05%
Greece 0.05%
Holland 0.05%
Hungary 0.00%
India 0.03%
Ireland 0.05%
Japan 0.03%
Lithuania 0.04%
Luxembourg 0.05%
Morocco 0.02%
New Zealand 0.05%
Norway 0.02%
Poland 0.02%
Romania 0.00%
Russia 0.00%
Singapore 0.08%
Slovakia 0.00%
Slovenia 0.05%
South Africa 0.05%
Switzerland 0.05%
Sweden 0.02%
Tunisia 0.00%
UK (England & Wales) 0.08%
UK (Scotland) 0.05%
Ukraine 0.00%
UAE 0.00%

The number of drink drive casualties is on the rise…

When we look back at official statistics relating to drink drive casualties over a 25 year period we can see that casualty figures dip noticeably in 2010. But the latest figures show an increase of 6.7% between 2015 and 2016, suggesting that drink drive related incidents are on the rise.

Over a 10 year period (2016 vs 2007), the number of casualties in Britain has decreased by 36%.

Despite this, we can see that, over the past 10 years, convictions have decreased by 45%.

Jon Walker

Hi I'm Jon, I'm the Digital Campaign Manager at Veygo. I passed my test over 15 years ago. These days most of my time spent in the car involves a sing a long to Disney's hits thanks to my daughter, but I do still enjoy road trips with friends when I get the chance!

Back to top