What are the impacts of drink driving?

Drivers can get convicted for many different offences on the road, from speeding to failing to stop at traffic lights, driving dangerously or using a mobile phone at the wheel.
For every conviction, there's a penalty – and obviously, the more serious the offence, the harsher the penalty will be. If you’ve recently received a conviction, no matter how severe, you may have noticed that your car insurance premium is significantly higher than before.

If this is the case, we recommend getting a quote with us here at the Insurance Factory. We specialise in convicted driver insurance and strive to keep costs as low as possible.

Drink-driving convictions

There’s no doubt that drink-driving is one of the convictions most likely to have a significant impact on your life – and we’re not just talking points on your licence, fines or a driving ban.
Beyond the driving penalties, writes Drinkaware, a drink-driving conviction could see you losing your job, especially if driving is a large part of it. You could even find it difficult to find a job in the future – again, particularly if you’re going for a driving job.
There are also the financial implications. Estimates from the Institute of Advanced Motorists predict that a conviction could cost anywhere between £20,000 and £50,000, once you’ve factored in fines, solicitors’ fees, hikes in car insurance and loss of job. Don’t Risk It notes how you could even have your car seized and impounded, adding to those costs.
Just like having a criminal record, you could find it difficult to enter certain countries like the USA, which could disrupt any plans you had for travel, work or study.
And let’s not forget the impact on your personal life. If you’ve got a family who rely on you to drop them to school, do the weekly shop or drive to visit friends and family in the evenings or at the weekends, then these seemingly simple activities suddenly become a lot more difficult.

A distressed man with his hands on his head sitting in his car

The potential impact on other people’s lives

Your decision to drive while under the influence will impact your life, but it can also have an impact on many other people’s lives – and not just the people you know.
As just one drink can slow your reaction times, this increases the chance of you having an accident involving other people.

Those other people might be in another car, or they could be innocent pedestrians who happen to be crossing the road at the time. Or they could be passengers in your car, whose lives you’ve put at risk by risking driving under the influence.
Just one accident caused by drink driving could potentially impact tens of people – even more – because the people injured may have family who depend on them.
As well as slowing your reaction times, alcohol can reduce your concentration and vision, inhibit your judgement and affect your coordination. All of these could have potentially severe consequences when behind the wheel of a car or van.


So, what are the limits?

Not surprisingly, there are strict alcohol limits in place. The most important thing to bear in mind is that alcohol affects every person in a different way – while one driver might be under the limit after one drink, that same drink could be enough to push you over the limit.
As Gov.UK notes, things like your weight, age, sex, stress levels, metabolism and what you’ve eaten recently are all factors that play a part in how alcohol affects you. As well, of course, as the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking.
Because you can never be certain if one drink will push you over the drink-drive limit, it’s definitely better to skip the alcohol altogether when driving. For reference, here’s a table of alcohol limits – note that the law is stricter in Scotland:
Alcohol level England, Wales and Northern Ireland Scotland
Microgrammes per 100ml of breath 35 22
Milligrammes per 100ml of blood 80 50
Milligrammes per 100ml of urine 107 67
Another important thing to remember is that alcohol stays in the blood longer than you might think. It’s very possible you could still be over the limit after a late night drinking, and the same repercussions will apply if you’re pulled over and breathalysed.
An electronic breathalyser next to a glass of beer


The penalties

Drink-driving penalties vary depending on the nature of your individual case. In any instance, as the Gov.UK website explains, you could face a fine or driving ban, or be imprisoned. The magistrates court that deals with your case will be responsible for deciding your penalty.
If you receive a driving ban of a year or more, you might be able to reduce the length of the ban by taking a drink-driving rehabilitation (DDRS) course. It’s down to the court to offer this.
Let’s recap the possible penalties you could face if you get caught drink driving:

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit due to alcohol

  • Three months’ imprisonment
  • Up to a £2,500 fine
  • Potential driving ban

Driving/attempting to drive when above the legal limit or unfit due to alcohol

  • Six months’ imprisonment
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban for at least one year (or three years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Refusing to provide a specimen for breath, urine or blood for evaluation

  • Six months’ imprisonment
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban for one year minimum

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban for at least two years
  • Extended driving test before you get your licence back
A drunk driver driving dangerously through a tunnel at night

Convicted driver insurance from the Insurance Factory

If you’re looking to get back on the road following a drink-driving ban, or after committing another motoring offence, we can help by arranging convicted driver insurance that doesn’t cost the earth.
Unlike many other insurers, we treat you as an individual and understand that the past is the past. As well as making sure the policies are priced competitively, we also make sure they include all of the features and benefits of a standard car insurance policy.
We’ll consider a range of driving convictions – including drink-driving, speeding, reckless driving and driving without insurance – as well as non-motoring convictions. Why not see what we can do for you? Get a quote today!