Road Safety News
 

Drink driving increases among elderly

Tuesday 15th October 2013

The number of older drivers who have been convicted of drink-driving has increased by 20% in the past two years, according to research carried out by Swiftcover.com (Daily Mail).

A Freedom of Information request by Swiftcover.com showed that more than 230 drivers aged over 75 years were convicted of drink driving in 2012, including a 93-year-old driver in Devon.

The FOI request produced data from 42 of the UK’s 52 police forces, which revealed that people aged over 50 made up 15% of all drink-drive offenders. However, the proportion was as high as 54% in Lancashire and as low as 2% in London. South England was the area with the most over-75 offenders.

By police force area, the greatest number of over 50s convicted of drink-driving offences between 2010 and 2012 were: Strathclyde (1,469), Greater Manchester (1,452), Hampshire (1,294), Thames Valley (1,201) and Devon & Cornwall (1,196).

The Daily Mail report suggests that while great strides had been made to make drink-driving ‘socially unacceptable’, there is feeling among older drivers that it is still ‘not so bad’ and that they can ‘handle it’.

Roman Bryl, underwriting manager at Swiftcover.com, said: “Drink-driving is not acceptable at any age. Although great strides have been made to tackle this in younger people, the number of motorists drink-driving from the older generations is still worryingly high.

“An increase in driving under the influence among the elderly is a shocking and deeply concerning trend as far too many casualties and fatalities occur as a result of this.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Drink-driving is a menace to everyone on our roads. Behind every statistic is a personal tragedy that could have been avoided. We need to keep reinforcing to drivers of all ages – young and old – the message that drinking and driving don’t mix.”

Click here to read the full Daily Mail article.

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I heard this increase being explained on Radio 4 by the fact that the over 75s are part of a generation that found drink driving not to be socially unacceptable. For me, that does not hold water: surely that age group would have always figured prominently in the stats, and not subject to a recent large increase? So why are the elderly being arrested for drink drive in increasing numbers?
David, Suffolk

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