Motorists in Harrogate top the chart for highest proportion of drink and drug convictions

7 December 2012

The extent to which motorists are endangering themselves and other road users by driving under the influence of drink and drugs has been revealed by analysis of over 14 million car insurance quotes by

Motorists in Harrogate were found to be the worst offenders for drink and drug driving convictions, at a rate of 8.2 per thousand quotes.

The UK’s number one comparison site analysed over 14 million car insurance quotes over 12 months as part of the MoneySupermarket Monitor on Car Insurance, and found the total number of drink and drugs convictions declared on insurance quotations for main drivers was 76,968 – a rate of 5 per thousand quotes. Overall, 3.4 million convictions were listed on insurance policies; those for drink or drugs related motoring offences contributed to 4.3 per cent of all offences.

The research also revealed male drivers are the most likely to have a conviction on their licence for driving under the influence, with over 55,000 found to have a previous drink or drugs offence, a rate of 6.8 per thousand quotes compared to just under 16,000 females at 2.7 per thousand quotes. A further breakdown of the searches reveals those aged 20 – 29 years old had the highest conviction rate, at 8.7 per thousand quotes, while older drivers are less likely to have a conviction, at a smaller rate of 1.1 per thousand quotes.

Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at said: 

The festive season is upon us, and many will perhaps drink more than usual and more often over the Christmas and New Year season. Our convictions data presents a stark reminder to motorists that they should not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only does it put the safety of the driver and any passengers at risk, but it also endangers other road users and pedestrians.


Simon Best, chief executive of IAM, said:

Crashes caused by drinking and driving are totally avoidable and this survey shows there are still far too many male drivers willing to risk lives and livelihoods by consuming alcohol before they get behind the wheel. Police now use intelligence and public tip offs to catch many drunk drivers so the stereotypical male drinker needs to know that they are being watched and they will be caught. Men simply need to take more personal responsibility and stick to the simple advice – if you drive don’t drink.


Drink and drug driving conviction hotspots

The analysis also found the largest numbers of motorists with convictions are based in more rural areas, with South Wales (6.7 per thousand quotes), North Scotland (6.4 per thousand quotes) and Mid Wales (5.9 per thousand quotes) topping the convictions chart. At the other end of the scale, motorists from London had the fewest convictions at a rate of 3.8 per thousand quotes.

Motorists in Harrogate, Hereford and Cardiff were found to be the worst offenders for drink and drug driving convictions, at a rate of 8.2 per thousand quotes, 7.3 per thousand quotes and 7.2 per thousand quotes respectively.

Kevin Pratt added:

While the data shows there are clearly driving conviction ‘hotspots’, particularly in parts of the country where consumers rely on their cars for all their transport needs, every motorist should ensure they stick to the legal guidelines and not drive under the influence. There are serious consequences for flouting the law, with fines of up to £5,000, a 12-month driving ban and in some circumstances a possible prison sentence. Drivers may also see their insurance premiums rocket, even if they don’t get an outright ban, and some may find it difficult to find a provider who is prepared to insure them if they have a prior drink and drugs-driving conviction.


Professions most likely to have a drink and drug driving conviction

Looking at the details of drivers with higher proportions of drink or drug related convictions, we can see the list of professions who are most likely to have an offence for driving under the influence on their licence. The top 10 is dominated by typically male and blue-collar professions with scaffolders coming top with 22.5 convictions per 1000 quotes followed by roofers with 18.9 convictions per 1000 quotes.

Professions with the lowest proportions of drink or drug-related convictions include school students, with just 0.17 convictions listed per 1000 quotes followed by paramedics with 0.20 convictions per thousand quotes and driving instructors with 0.50 drink or drug related offences per thousand quotes.

Kevin Pratt concluded:

With male drivers registering more drink and drug-related convictions on their licences it follows that stereotypically male trades and professions dominate the list of those most likely to have an offence on their licence for driving under the influence. A lot of these roles involve early starts and many will be getting up for work and behind the wheel with too much alcohol in their system. This is something every motorist should bear in mind when they’re drinking in the evening before needing to drive the next day.

The same applies to those drinking at lunchtime or in the afternoon who may be driving in the evening. You could easily have a positive reading for alcohol in your body several hours after you stopped drinking, and even if you had only drunk a relatively small amount.

When looking at those least likely to have a conviction on their licence it makes sense that younger drivers who are school attenders and aren’t always old enough to drink would be lowest down the list. Seeing paramedics second in this list makes sense when they often have to deal with the aftermath of drink and drug related road traffic accidents, surely enough to put anyone off breaking the law.


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