Drink driving is on the increase among elderly motorists, it has been revealed. Drivers over 50 now account for one in five drunk-driving convictions, with such acts having risen by 20 per cent in just two years.
The findings, by car insurance company Swiftcover, reveal a driver over 50 was charged with drink-driving in the UK every hour in 2012. More than 230 over 75s were caught over the limit last year, the eldest on record being a 93-year-old who was stopped in Devon.
Swiftcover’s figures showed data from 42 of the 52 UK police forces. The highest number of over 50s convicted were located in Strathclyde, though South England as a whole was the worst spot for elderly drinking and driving. By police force area, the number of over 50s convicted were: Strathclyde (1,469), Greater Manchester (1,452), Hampshire (1,294), Thames Valley (1,201) and Devon & Cornwall (1,196).
Experts believe that while the younger generation is getting the message that drinking and driving is socially unacceptable, older drivers, who perhaps grew up drinking and driving, don’t see a big problem with it.
According to Swiftcover.com: “The majority of over 75 year olds will have first begun to drive in the 1950’s, but a legal alcohol limit was not introduced to the UK until 1967.
“Over 50 year olds will have typically learnt to drive in 1979, when drink driving offences were 540% higher than they are today.”
AA president Edmund King said: ‘Drink-driving is a menace to everyone on our roads. Behind every statistic is a personal tragedy that could have been avoided.
‘We need to keep reinforcing to drivers of all ages – young and old – the message that drinking and driving don’t mix.’