Health: Britain’s Drink Drive Casualties Under The Radar

Drinking and driving are two things that one should never undertake at the same time. It’s an obvious matter of security, both for yourself and the others. We crossed official numbers to see which regions are the most concerned in the UK.

Drink Drive Danger
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Fatal accidentsselectedRegion.fatal | number_format(0, ‘.’, ‘,’)
Serious accidentsselectedRegion.serious | number_format(0, ‘.’, ‘,’)
Slight accidentsselectedRegion.slight | number_format(0, ‘.’, ‘,’)
Total casualties related to drink & driveselectedRegion.casualty | number_format(0, ‘.’, ‘,’)
People seriously injured or killedselectedRegion.killedinjured | number_format(0, ‘.’, ‘,’)
People slightly injuredselectedRegion.slightlyinjured | number_format(0, ‘.’, ‘,’)
Drink and drive accidents and casualties reported

East Midlands: the deadliest drink & drive region of the UK

Unfortunately, the East Midlands hold the sad record of having the worst drink drive ratio of all Great Britain, with an average of 18.11 casualties per 100,000 inhabitants registered in 2018. The region is followed by South East England (16.86 casualties per 100,000 inhabitants) and the East of England (14.54 casualties per 100,000 inhabitants).

Scotland, an example to follow?

With 7,36 drink-related drive casualties per 100,000 inhabitants over 2018, Scotland ranks by far as the number 1 region in Great-Britain for the lowest ratio of people injured or killed on the roads due to alcohol.

Is this the consequence of Scotland reducing in 2014 the legal limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50? It is hard to say for sure, although it might has had an impact on drivers.

The table below shows that the drink drive limit is far stricter in Scotland than in the rest of Great Britain, which could explain the huge gap observed between both areas. Lower tolerance for a lower death ratio on the road could be a serious part of a working policy on that very sensible topic.

How much?Tolerated level in ScotlandTolerated level in England
Breath limit22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath 
Blood limit50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood
Urine limit67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine 
Drink drive limit comparison between Scotland and England

Drink drive casualties – no decreasing trend observed over the years

Despite repeated road safety campaigns over the years, we do not observe, especially in England, a downward curve. We can observe a decrease in the reported number of drink drive casualties in England in both 2013 and 2014 before it goes back to average levels in 2015-2016.

UK drink and driving legislation key dates:

  • As from 1st of June 2013: each drink driver classified as a ‘High Risk Offender’ is obliged, at the expiration of his driving interdiction, to attend and pass a DVLA medical examination.
  • 2014: Scotland reduces the alcohol limit authorized in blood, breath, urine.
  • 2015: the evidential breath test statutory option allowing suspected drink drivers to provide an alternative specimen for analysis of urine or blood is abolished. The breath testing machines is the new mandatory test to go through.
drink drive casualties uk 2010 2018

As concerns 2020, the UK government has announced a 3% annual rise in the number of drink drive crashes on Great-Britain’s roads – despite the fact that roads were almost empty during the 3 months of lockdown. As HelloSafe reported in a previous study focusing on the car insurance industry’s savings during that period, claims dramatically felt between March and June. However, it seems that the bad habits have gone back strong after the restriction measures were lifted.

Always better safe than sorry

Before hitting the road after a party, make sure you completely safe to drive. Use a drink and drive calculator which clearly states whether you are good to go or not.

If you want to know more about alcohol limits, visit our dedicated page here.


Antoine Fruchard, insurance expert and CEO at

Too many Brits still die every year on the roads because of dangerous behaviors that are unfortunately very hard to ban from the British society. However, the case of Scotland brings many hopes, showing that stricter rules can turn into really lower numbers in terms of drink and drive related casualties in comparison with England & Wales. Other numbers tend to show that the 16-24 age category accounts for approximatively 24% of the alcohol-related accidents, which makes the young drivers very vulnerable to this. The prevention work that the government has tried to lead over the years must be strengthened in every UK school and university, so that one day we do not have to weep the deaths of our young compatriotes on our roads”.

Our methodology

This study is based on numbers published by the UK government.

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