Drivers may lose up to £70,000 after receiving a drink-drive conviction this Christmas

Drink driving: UK police send warning after increase in arrests

Experts at IAM RoadSmart warn the personal financial cost of having an extra drink on a night out can be extreme in a period of financial uncertainty for many. The research team found payouts can range from an initial police fine to any possible loss of earnings while motorists are serving a prison sentence.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart said the huge fine was “sobering” for road users.

He has advised drawers to not drink at all when using the roads due to the added risks involved.

He added: “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.

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“Our advice is therefore quite simply to always stick with ‘None for the Road’.”

Car insurance policies are also likely to increase after receiving a conviction while drivers may be required to fork out for public transport when they lose their licence.

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit can result in a £2,500 fine and three months imprisonment.

However, driving a car while over the limit can see fines rise to £5,000 with a six-month jail sentence and a one-year driving ban.

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IAM RoadSmart says drivers could then spend £11,000 on legal fees after a not-guilty plea.

Public transport costs covering the length of a ban would see drivers pay £2,000 with motorists expected to lose £38,500 in earnings for 15 months following a jail sentence.

IAM Road Smart warns insurance providers will increase costs after a conviction as motorists are considered a higher road risk.

They warn costs could rise by £13,500 over five years which brings total costs up to £70,000.

Mr Greig added: “In the run-up to Christmas this year, many people’s drinking habits will have changed as a result of the coronavirus.

“So, whether you’re raising a glass for the festive season at home or, where you’re able, in a restaurant or pub, it’s important to remember that an extra drink comes with a huge hidden cost if it pushes you over the limit.”

“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.”

Department for Transport data released earlier this year revealed a four percent increase in the number of drink-drive crashes on the road.

A total of 5,900 crashes involved at least one driver over the limit in 2018 in an increase of 200 accidents compared to the year before.

However, enforcement has fallen dramatically over the past decade with the number of breathalyser tests down.

Just 302,281 motorists were breathalysed by Police in 2019 in a 43 percent fall compared to the number of tests carried out ten years ago.

This was also 11 percent fewer tests than were carried out by officers in 2018.

Baroness Vere, Roads minister has warned drinking when motorists were planning to drive was “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.

She added: “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.

“We are working tirelessly, through schemes like our award-winning THINK! campaign, to tackle attitudes and behaviours that could lead to people drink driving, and we continue to invest in policing and enforcement on our roads.”

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