Drink-driving conviction can cost £70,000

As Christmas approaches, IAM Roadsmart warns the personal financial cost of a drink-driving conviction can be £70,000

Motorists caught drink-driving this Christmas could end up being £70,000 out of pocket when all the personal financial costs of their conviction are taken into account, a road safety charity has warned.

IAM Roadsmart - formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists - points out that those who are convicted of a drink-driving offence face fines, legal fees, higher car insurance premiums, alternative transport costs and potential loss of earnings.

Research by the organisation suggests fines associated with the conviction could be £5,000, the previous maximum fine - though a conviction now brings a limitless financial penalty. Legal fees following conviction after a not guilty plea come in at an average of £11,000, while increased car insurance premiums typically run to £13,500 over five years, the period for which drivers must tell insurers about a conviction.

During a ban, offenders can also expect to rack up £2,000 in taxi or public transportation bills while they don’t have a car, plus a loss in earnings of £38,500 over 15 months is possible based on the average UK salary, and unemployment following a conviction.

Official Government figures show there were 250 fatal drink-driving accidents in 2017 - the highest number since 2010. This was despite 2017 only seeing 326,000 roadside breath tests, compared with 737,000 in 2010.

Around a fifth of drink-driving convictions and a third of roadside breath tests take place the morning after the night the suspect has allegedly been drinking, between the hours of 7am and 1pm.

December 2018 saw a 16 per cent rise in drink-driving offences compared with the same month the previous year. Typically, around 20 per cent of drink-driving offences for any given year take place in December.

Roads minister Baroness Vere commented: “Drink-driving kills, so during the festive season don’t be tempted to have a drink before getting behind the wheel - it’s irresponsible and incredibly dangerous.”

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM Roadsmart, said: “Drink-driving wrecks lives and is totally unacceptable in any circumstance. However, some people still think they are safe to drive when they’ve had just a couple of drinks or are using home measures, which can quickly push them over the limit.

“The £70,000 impact of being convicted of drink-driving is very sobering. This should be more than enough - let alone the thought of causing any other suffering for yourself, your family or the other people you put at risk on the road - to stop those drivers who are tempted to have an extra drink and get behind the wheel.”

What is the drink driving limit? Find out more about the UK law here...

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