Convictions for drink driving are not uncommon. Often, many are caught out the morning after the night before, where the late-night alcohol has not dissipated from the body before the early start for work. However, there are areas where it is more prevalent, where there are more convictions.
UK Drink Driving Laws carry standardized penalties, including a none discretionary 12 month ban for driving whilst under the influence. However, the actual limits which constitute an excess differ between Scotland and the rest of the UK, with Scotland’s limit being about two-thirds that of England’s. A conviction is Scotland however, even where it wouldn’t merit a conviction elsewhere, means a ban from driving for the whole of the UK. This might suggest that Scotland has a greater proportion of drink driving offences, or alternatively a better approach, but what do the statistics show?
In the five years running up to May 2016, there were 273,498 convictions for drink driving. Off these the five most popular postcode areas for convictions included Croydon, Boston, Coventry, Peterborough and Leicester. Between them these five postcodes accounted for 3,014 convictions with the highest number being in Croydon CR0 at 687.
The Possible Reasons
It is impossible to give definitive reasons as to why one area has a higher prevalence of drink driving convictions, it may be due to a higher number of stops, more drivers or many other variables.
One argument that has been submitted is the familiarity with UK Drink Driving Laws and the demographic of the local population. Long established UK residents have long frowned upon drink driving and understand that the penalties are severe, and therefore this itself is a disincentive to take any risk. Visitors, or newer UK residents, including migratory workers, may not be as aware of the law and the harsh penalties. Certainly the UK adopts an approach that differs to those across Europe, and though ignorance is no defence, it may be one a reason.
Well there is a lower threshold for conviction, and so what do the statistics say? In a similar five year period, the highest number of convictions within Scotland was in Airdrie where 304 people were convicted. Second to Airdrie was Livingston, with 249 convictions. Figures which are considerably less than those in England. Does this therefore suggest that the lower limit is working? Again statistics do not always cover every fact, such as population demographics, cultural norms, policing practices, etc.
There will always be a location where they have the highest levels of conviction for drink driving, and that will remain true until there are no convictions whatsoever. Factors such as the demographic of the population and the actions of the local Police will influence the figures, but what is certain is that the UK Drink Driving Laws will apply evenly to each person convicted. A 12 month driving ban, possible 6 month prison sentence and a fine of up to £5,000.00. When faced with this, it is best to seek the help of a specialist drink driving Solicitor, and that fact is true, whichever part of the UK you live in.