The government already paints a very bleak picture of the consequences of drinking via its Think! TV and radio campaigns. But it’s about to paint an even bleaker one by highlighting the potential financial cost of being caught driving whilst over the limit.
New research from the Department for Transport has revealed the cost of one extra pint – the pint that takes you over the legal drink/drive limit of 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – is between a staggering £20,000 and £50,000 for first-time offenders.
That figure is comprised of fines, which can total either £2,500 or £5,000 depending on the severity of the case, legal bills of £4,800 to deliver a not-guilty plea, an £8,000 increase in car insurance costs over the 11 years a drink-drive conviction stays on your driving licence, and the earnings lost due to not having a car to get to and from work over the average disqualification period of 15 months.
The Government’s latest campaign comes in response to a rise in the number of alcohol-related road casualties and deaths. In 2011, the casualty figure rose by 3 per cent to 9,990 and drink-drive deaths rose 12 per cent to 280.
Speaking on the issue, 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.”
“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,” he added.
Drink driving punishment
Besides costing you an arm and a leg – figuratively and sometimes literally in the event of a particularly bad crash – there is also the possibility of being sat behind bars for up to six months when over the limit. Causing a death takes the punishment up to a possible 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, a two year driving ban at the least as well as the need to take an extended driving test to get your license back.
Insurance companies may also choose not to insure you at all, an employer could fire you and finding a job could become more difficult as some forms of employment require a clean driving license and/or the lack of a criminal record.
Suffice to say, if in doubt, go home without your car.