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Government shows personal financial cost of drink-driving for first time with £50k pint campaign

More than 51,000 people were convicted of drink or drug driving in 2011. The Institute of Advanced Motorists has now calculated the average cost of a drinking and driving conviction at £50,800, broken down as follows:

  • £5,000, the maximum fine (source: DfT)
  • £4,800 in legal fees, the industry average charged by solicitors for a not guilty plea at trial (sourced by IAM)
  • £8,000, the increase in insurance fees based on the average premium for a young man aged between 20 and 24 calculated over an 11-year period, the amount of time a drink driving conviction remains on your driving licence (source: moneysupermarket.com)
  • £33,000 in lost earnings, based on a period of 15-months, the mean driving disqualification after conviction, for someone earning the average full-time salary of £26,500 (sources: ONS and DVLA).

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.’

The personal costs for the driver have been illustrated with the unveiling of the £50k pint in a protective glass case surrounded by security guards in London. Speaking at the unveiling, Road Safety Minister Stephen 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.’ 



Under the latest £1.68m THINK! Campaign, the “Consequences” Drink Drive television and radio adverts will be aired over the spring accompanied by online activity.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.