Drink-driving remains a significant issue of concern for motorists in the UK, but this year has seen a surprising fall in the number that cite it as one of their top four biggest concerns, from 29% in 2015 to 22%. Similarly, 12 months ago 9% of motorists said drink-driving was their top concern but this has dropped to 5%. It is possible that this fall is attributable to a lower level of press coverage of accidents arising from drink-driving and a targeted approach by the THINK! campaign that restricts advertising to those times of the year, primarily in December, when the risk is perceived to be greatest.
Nevertheless, the Report does show a small rise in the number of people who admit to having driven while over the limit over the past year: 6% say they have done so shortly after drinking, up from 4% in 2015, while 2% say they have got behind the wheel the morning after drinking despite thinking they were still over the limit (1% in 2015).
As previous statistics have shown, it is people under the age of 45 who are most likely to admit to drink-driving. The rate in Scotland is lower than the UK average, and this may be due to the fact that there has been a lower blood-alcohol limit than the rest of the UK in force north of the border since December 2014.
The debate about whether England and Wales should reduce the limit to 50mg/100ml from the current 80mg/100ml level is ongoing. Earlier this year, the Department for Transport said that there were no plans to review the law as it stands16.
Instead ministers said they viewed ‘rigorous enforcement and serious penalties’ as a more effective deterrent.
In Northern Ireland, however, a 50mg/100ml limit is to be introduced in 2018, with even tougher restrictions on professional and learner drivers.
2% of motorists say they have got behind the wheel the morning after drinking believing they were over the limit
The debate about whether England and Wales should reduce the limit to 50mg/100ml from the current 80mg/100ml is ongoing
22% of motorists cite drink-driving as one of their top four concerns
6% of people admit to having driven while over the limit shortly after drinking over the past year