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Drinking & Driving – Does the British Public Know the Law?

22 June 2016

Recent research conducted by leading motoring defence firm, M.A.J. Law, has revealed public knowledge and opinions of the laws surrounding drink driving in England and Wales. Drinking whilst over the legal limit for alcohol is a serious offence, yet the general public seems to be largely uneducated about it, according to M.A.J. Law’s results. Scroll to the infographic below too see the full results.

British Public Largely Unaware of Drink Driving Law

Of those surveyed, over 90% of respondents said that they were unsure of what the legal limit actually is in Britain. Less than 1 in 10 were confident that they knew the laws, suggesting that there is a significant knowledge gap in the British public.

The unfamiliarity with the laws, when paired with the fact that almost half of Brits are happy to consume alcohol before driving a vehicle, becomes all the more important. Just 54% of the survey’s respondents said that they would strictly not drive after consuming any alcohol whatsoever, with 31% stating they would consume one alcoholic drink, and a shocking 15% claiming they would be fine to drive after two drinks.

As well as the official legal limits, respondents were also asked about their knowledge of the potential penalties of drinking and driving. When asked specifically about both the minimum and maximum legal penalties that a convicted drink driver could face in court, 92% admitted they did not know, again highlighting just how much the British public is unaware.

The final section of the survey asked respondents’ opinions on whether or not the current drink driving limit in England and Wales was ‘fair’ or not. Just one third agreed that the current limit was appropriate. Almost one in ten (8%) were of the opinion that the limit should actually be higher, while 15% were unsure.

Obviously the validity of these responses is arguably questionable due to the aforementioned lack of knowledge around what the limit actually is, but what these results do give us an indication of the way drink driving law is viewed by the public, and perhaps how severe it is considered to be as an offence.


Penalty Calculator

For help calculating a potential drink driving penalty, use our handy tool.

Public Knowledge of Drink Driving: Infographic



Survey results data

1.) Are you aware of what the legal drink driving limit is in England and Wales?

Possible Answers % of Responses
Yes 7.70%
No 76.90%
Not sure 15.40%

2.) Do you think the current drink driving limit is appropriate (35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millitres of breath)?

Possible Answers % of Responses
No – I think the limit should be lower 46.20%
No – I think the limit should be higher 7.70%
Yes – I think the limit is reasonable & should stay the same 30.80%
I’m not sure 15.30%

3.) Are you aware of the minimum and maximum penalties for a drink driving offence?

Possible Answers % of Responses
Yes 7.70%
No 92.30%

4.) What is the maximum number of alcoholic drinks that you would consume before driving?

Possible Answers % of Responses
0 drinks 53.80%
1 drink 30.80%
2 drinks 15.40%

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