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Drinking and driving

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  • Release date: 26 November 2015
  • Period covered: 2014
  • Next update: 9 February 2017
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.

Key points

  • Estimates made for the Department of Transport (DfT) suggest that 8 per cent of killed and serious injury accidents (KSI) that occurred in Wales in 2013 involved drivers over the blood alcohol limit.
  • Police officers’ views about the ‘contributory factors’ that led to accidents also suggest a figure of 7 per cent of KSI accidents during 2014 involving drivers that were ‘impaired by alcohol’.

Other information about drink driving suggests that:

  • In 2013, around 12 per cent of motor vehicle drivers killed in traffic collisions were over the drink-drive limit  and of those motorcycle riders who were killed, 6 per cent were over the drink drive limit.
  • In 2014, there were 90 accidents where the reporting police officer considered that a pedestrian(s) being ‘impaired by alcohol’ was a contributory factor to that accident.

Drug driving

  • In 2014, for every 4 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 show:

  • In 2014  there were 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 than a weekday, and that they are more likely to test positive outside traditional working hours, between 16:00 to 04:00.


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