Skip to content

Drinking and driving

Bookmark and Share
  • Release date: 27 November 2014
  • Period covered: 2013
  • Next update: November 2015
An annual report which presents information about association between drink driving and accidents, results of breath tests of drivers involved in accidents and enforcement action relating to drink driving.

The available sources of information about drink driving and accidents suggest that drivers with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit for driving (currently 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood) were involved in a significant minority of accidents in Wales. They also suggest that these drivers were more likely to be involved in the more serious accidents that result in death or serious casualties.

The uncertainty of the data makes it impossible to get an exact estimate, but, taking killed and serious injury accidents (KSI) together; estimates made for the Department of Transport (DfT) suggest that in 2012, around 7 per cent of these accidents in Wales involved drivers over the blood alcohol limit. These accidents resulted in 8 per cent of all killed and serious casualties. Police Officers’ views about the ‘contributory factors’ that led to accidents in Wales also suggest a figure of 8 per cent of KSI accidents in Wales during 2013 involving drivers that were ‘impaired by alcohol’.

Key points

Drink driving

  • Around 1 in 4 motor vehicle drivers killed in traffic collisions were over the drink-drive limit.
  • None of the motorcycle riders killed were over the drink drive limit.
  • In 2013, there were 119 accidents where the reporting police officer considered that a pedestrian(s) being ‘impaired by alcohol’ was a contributory factor to that accident.

Drug driving

  • For every 5 accidents where the driver was impaired by alcohol, there was around 1 accident where he/she was ‘impaired by drugs’, both illegal and medicinal.

Breath tests of drivers taken after accidents

  • No marked seasonal pattern in casualties over a year arising from accidents where one or more of the drivers involved tested positive.
  • More drivers in accidents test positive on the weekend rather than a weekday, and that they are more likely to test positive outside traditional working hours, between 16:00 to 04:00.


Tel: 029 2082 5062