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Country roads take top spot for drink-driving incidents


Almost half of all drink-drivers admit to doing so on a rural road, resulting in a high percentage of alcohol-related accidents and near misses in the countryside.

Car driving dangerously at night

Almost 3 million UK motorists have been involved in a drink-driving related accident or near miss. And almost a third – 34% – reported this took place on a rural road. 

That’s according to new research by, which suggests many motorists feel they can get away with a drink before driving if they’re in the countryside.

Half of drink-drivers knew they were over the limit

Almost half of motorists who’ve admitted to drinking then driving admit they’ve driven along a rural road while knowingly being over the legal alcohol limit. 

When questioned about it, more than a third say they did so because they knew there wouldn’t be many cars or police on the road.

The research comes as new figures, obtained by via Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the UK, show 44,740 motorists failed or refused breathalyser tests in 2016 alone.

Older drivers the more likely culprits

Two in five drink-drivers have risked getting behind the wheel after drinking in a countryside pub, the research shows, with older drivers the more likely culprits.

Almost half – 48% – of those who have driven having had an alcoholic drink in a countryside pub are over the age of 55.

In fact, a total of 2,094 drivers over the age of 60 failed or refused breathalyser tests in 2016, of which 81% were men.

Strict punishment for drink-drivers

Man being breathalysed

Drink-driving carries strict punishments for offenders, including the possibility of three months’ imprisonment, up to £2,500 in fines or a possible driving ban. 

However, unfortunately for other road users, not all drink-drivers have been prosecuted. 

One in seven – 14% – drivers who’ve knowingly driven while being over the legal alcohol limit say they haven’t been caught. 

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says: “Our research clearly shows some drivers are still getting behind the wheel after a drink, especially in rural areas.” 

How many units are in your drink?

“While some think they are able to avoid police and get away with it more easily on quieter country roads, drink-driving is clearly having an impact on countryside traffic accidents. 

“Rural roads are dangerous to drive along on the best of days, with low light levels, narrow lanes and wandering wildlife, let alone drivers under the influence of alcohol.”

To give motorists a better understanding of just how many units they’re consuming, has created an alcohol unit calculator.

Although the best advice, as Amanda says, is “to avoid drinking alcohol completely if you’re driving home.”


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