Admiral reveals more than a quarter of motorists admit to drink driving

From: Admiral
Published: Fri Jul 15 2011

Admiral, a leading car insurance expert, has revealed worrying new research that suggests the number of people drink driving has risen in the last year. It found that 28% of motorists have driven their car in the knowledge they were over the legal alcohol limit, up from 24% in 2010.

Admiral commissioned YouGov to survey 2,500 drivers for the annual Admiral Survey of Motorists, which includes questions about drink driving. With summer in full swing and the temptation to drive after a few drinks in a beer garden or at a barbecue high, the results raise concerns that the anti-drink driving message is failing to hit home.

Many motorists still believe a few drinks before getting behind the wheel won’t hurt. So while nearly half of those questioned said they would only consider themselves safe to drive after drinking no units of alcohol, one in ten said they think they are still safe after drinking three or more units.

When it comes to gender, men appear to be far more likely than women to drink and drive. 37% of men said they have driven while over the limit, compared with 16% of women, and 16% of men said they think they are still safe to drive after three or more drinks, compared with just 1% of women.

Roger Singer, head of road safety charity DDE+, gave his thoughts on why drink driving is such a concern in the summer: "Firstly, and it seems too simple, it's warmer, so try not to drink alcohol for thirst - have a pint of squash first and then savour that pint of lager or glass of wine at a more leisurely pace.

"Secondly the drinking episodes can be longer, we start stoking up the lunch-time BBQ about 11am on Sunday morning sampling the bottled lager to make sure it's up to standard at the same time.  We're finishing the last of the Rosé as we are clearing up at midnight. Without realising it we've consumed a total of 29 units - it's only a beer or a glass of wine an hour but it means we won't be able to drive till 4pm Monday."

Another major risk highlighted by Admiral’s research is the number of people who admit they have driven the morning after drinking heavily the night before. Nearly a quarter of motorists admitted they have done this while they suspected they were over the limit, while a further 16% are unsure if they were safe to drive.

Sue Longthorn, managing director of Admiral, said: "These statistics are a real concern; the number of people who say they have driven while over the limit is up from last year and stands at nearly three out of ten motorists. We just want to highlight these figures and point out why it is never worth the risk.

"Motorists who get caught drink driving could also find it difficult to get insured. They will at least find their car insurance premiums have increased, and this increase could be significant, and in some extreme cases they could even be refused insurance completely."

More information on this and the rest of Admiral’s Annual Survey of British Motorists can be found at


Notes to Editors:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,500 adults who have a driver's licence and at least one car in their household. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th - 9th May 2011. The survey was carried out online.

About Admiral:
Admiral, (a trading name of EUI Ltd) launched in 1993, and is part of Admiral Group plc. It was set up to target those motorists who traditionally pay higher than average premiums, including those under-35, living in cities or driving hot hatches.

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