UK

Drink-driving: Thousands caught over the limit twice

Police officer testing a driver Image copyright PA
Image caption Drink-drivers are being caught multiple times for the same offence

More than 8,000 motorists have been caught driving over the limit twice in the past five years, according to the DVLA.

A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association showed 219,008 people were caught drink-driving once in the same period.

Two drivers were caught six times.

The AA said the numbers were "astonishing" and called for the process of returning licences to banned drivers to be reviewed.

The association's president, Edmund King, said: "The fact that more than 8,000 drivers have been caught twice in five years is all the more astonishing when they should have been off the road for a year or more.

"Perhaps it is time to review some of the medical checks and rehabilitation courses before allowing these drivers back on the road."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Drink-drivers face a ban of at least one year, as well as an unlimited fine

The offences took place between 2011 and 2015 when motorists were given DR10 endorsements - handed to drivers for driving or attempting to drive while above the legal alcohol limit.

Anyone caught for the offence faces a ban of at least one year, an unlimited fine and, in the most serious cases, up to six months in prison.

Some drivers are offered rehabilitation courses to reduce the length of their ban.

Numbers of drivers who received DR10 endorsements in Britain between 2011 and 2015

  • One - 219,008 drivers
  • Two - 8,068 drivers
  • Three - 449 drivers
  • Four - 46 drivers
  • Five - Five drivers
  • Six - Two drivers

SOURCE: DVLA/Press Association

The DVLA data shows the number of drink-drive convictions has fallen in recent years, from 53,885 in 2011 to 42,587 in 2015.

A drink-driver not deemed to be a "high risk offender" can apply to get their licence back once their ban has ended, but they have to fill out a form with questions about their health.

The DVLA said it had to issue a licence when a driver had served their disqualification period, but it would investigate and take "appropriate action" if there was any indication of "an ongoing issue with alcohol".

But Road safety charity Brake said the numbers showed "a worrying lack of progress in drink-drive enforcement" and called on the government to put "serious investment" into road policing and stopping "hard-core drunk drivers" getting back behind the wheel.

Christmas crime

The AA said it had figures showing that nearly two-thirds of drink-drivers arrested in the run-up to and during the past three Christmases were at least almost twice the alcohol limit.

FoI responses from 10 police forces in England revealed that from November to December in 2013, 2014 and 2015, 64% of 5,621 drivers arrested after failing a breath test for alcohol registered at least 60 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

Mr King said: "These people knowingly got behind the wheel when drunk."

Provisional estimates from the Department for Transport showed that between 200 and 290 people were killed in drink-drive accidents on Britain's roads last year.

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