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One in 60 drink drivers reoffend

21st November 2014 Print

Despite a number of hard-hitting advertising campaigns aimed at making drink driving socially unacceptable and tough sentences for those convicted, thousands of drink drivers go on to reoffend within three years, according to new research.

Figures obtained by a freedom of information request by LV= car insurance reveal that one in 60 drink drivers caught since 2010 had previously been banned for drink driving.

Official DVLA and police data shows that over 4,000 drivers have received multiple disqualifications for a drink drive offence in the past four years. Their licences had been returned because they were considered safe to drive when their initial ban expired, but they then went on to drink drive again. Over the same period, the average length of a driving ban decreased by 12%, with the average ban now lasting less than a year and half (514 days).

Last year, more than 52,000 ‘high-risk’ offenders were placed on DVLA’s disqualification register. These are drink drivers who are more than two and half times over the legal limit, who have two or more drink drive offences within a 10-year period or who refuse to give breath, blood or urine samples.

When a driving ban expires, high-risk offenders can reapply for their licence only when they have passed a medical test to prove that they are no longer alcohol-dependent. Since 2010, approximately 28,000 such high-risk offenders a year have requested this medical-test in order to get back on the roads.

In the run up to Christmas, drink driving arrests peak across the UK. According to official police data nearly 40% more drink drivers are caught in December compared to an average month.

A number of extreme cases have been revealed by the police data, with 2014’s drunkest driver caught by Bedfordshire Police with 423mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath – meaning they were 12 times over the legal limit. Durham Constabulary caught a motorist who had 331mg/100ml breath (more than nine times over the limit) and Gloucestershire Police arrested one driver with 238mg of alcohol per 100m of breath (nearly seven times over the limit).

Separate figures released by the Department for Transport in August 2014 show that 230 people were killed in drink drive accidents in 2012, with around 6,630 accidents in 2012 linked to alcohol consumption.

John O’Roarke, Managing Director of LV= car insurance, comments: “While most drivers understand the dangers of drink driving, there is still a small minority who are persistently offending. It is disappointing that the average length of a driving ban has fallen as these motorists need to be kept off the roads. Those who drink and drive not only risk their own safety but the safety of other road users and the authorities should not shy away from banning them from the roads for as long as possible.”