Drink-driving 'highest in rural areas'

Lack of public transport could be behind a high rate of drink-driving in rural areas.

More motorists are charged with drink-driving in largely rural areas than in urban and more built-up areas, suggests a study.

The study was based on Freedom of Information requests which were sent by the Press Association to police forces up and down the country.

Responses show that constabularies covering largely rural counties have a higher drink-drive charge rate than police forces covering more built-up areas.

Top of the table was Lincolnshire, with 14.05 drink drive charges per 10,000 population.

It was followed by North Wales (11.27 charges), Warwickshire (10.51), Dyfed-Powys (9.56), North Yorkshire (9.28) and Gloucestershire (9.12).

Bottom of the table with much lower rates were Durham (6.22), Merseyside (5.41), Hertfordshire (5.41), South Yorkshire (5.38) and Leicestershire (4.92).

Inspector Ewan Gell, of Lincolnshire's serious collision investigation unit, told the Press Association there were serious issues surrounding the drink-driving, which is a crime.

“If we are at the top of that chart I think there is a problem with drink-driving in Lincolnshire,” he said.

“We need to work very carefully to get the education message across to make sure we get those figures down.”

In England and Wales, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

This is more than most other European countries, where the limit is usually 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.

The Drinkaware charity, which encourages a responsible attitude towards drinking, said people should in areas with good public transport links should take take advantage of them.

But many rural areas lack public transport, especially at night.

Drinkaware said people should arrange within their group of friends a “designated driver” who abstains from alcohol on a night out so they can drive the rest of their group home safely.

“If you live somewhere with good public transport links – take advantage of them,” it said.

“If you’re planning on staying out beyond the last train, tube or bus, make sure you’ve got a couple of taxi numbers. “

It is estimated that between 2010 and 2015 there were 36,900 reported drink drive accidents and 1,410 reported deaths caused by drink driving accidents.

In total, the Press Association asked all 45 UK police forces for details of charges.

Five forces did not respond to the request for information and a further nine said they could not provide comparable data.


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