Government reveals drink-drive cost1st March, 2013 by Andy Young
A £50,000 pint of beer, which highlights the cost of a drink-driving conviction, has been unveiled as part of the UK government’s latest THINK! road safety campaign.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has calculated the personal financial cost of drink-driving for the first time, pricing it between £20,000 and £50,000. The calculation reflects the fines, legal costs, rise in insurance premiums and possible job losses faced by those who are convicted.
The pricey pint, the one that could take a driver over the limit, was revealed by the road safety minister Stephen Hammond this morning and forms part of the government’s new £1.68 million THINK! campaign.
Mr Hammond said: “It might only look like a humble pint of beer, but it could end up costing much more than a few quid – in fact it comes with an eye-watering hidden cost if it pushes you over the limit.
“Most people know not to drink and drive but a small number still do, which is why we are highlighting the consequences of a drink drive conviction through our THINK! campaign.
“Anyone thinking of drinking and driving should be without any doubt – if you are caught driving over the limit you will face a heavy court fine and lose your licence – you could even go to prison.”
The IAM’s £50,000 cost is made up of a £5,000 fine, £4,800 in legal fees, £8,000 for increased insurance premiums and £33,000 in lost earnings.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “The total personal cost of a drink driving conviction was a lot more than we expected. £50,000 is an awful lot to pay for just one more drink.
“On top of the up-front financial costs, the long-term impact on earnings can be serious if you factor in the stigma of a criminal record. Alcohol affects everyone differently and your limit can change depending on a large number of factors – it’s best to make it none for the road.”
More than 51,000 people were convicted of drink or drug driving in 2011 and chief constable Suzette Davenport, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, warned drink drivers that police are breathalysing more drivers than ever.
She said: “Drivers need to be aware there are several ways for police to catch drink drivers, so it’s not a matter of if you get caught, it’s when.
“Over the Christmas period last year police breathalysed more than 1,000 extra drivers compared to the previous year. As a result of this, there are drivers who never thought they would be caught but are now facing fines, driving bans and a criminal record.”