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Probably the most expensive drink in the world

 Published 18th January 2021
Driver Guides 

How much does a pint cost where you live? We all know it varies according to where you are…or how far from London you are. You could be paying £6 or you could be paying £3. You might even live in one of those mythical places where the price still starts with a 2. Or you could get caught out by the £70,000 pint.

hat's how much a drink drive conviction could cost according to the UK's largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart .

The charity has worked out the total cost of drink driving could reach £70,000 or more when taking into account fines, legal fees, higher car insurance premiums, alternative transport costs and potential loss of earnings following conviction. That's definitely a very expensive pint.

It should go without saying that the financial costs pale into insignificance for the families of the innocent people whose lives are cut short or drastically and permanently changed, just because they happened to be in the wrong place the day you fancied another quick one. As well as having to live with the consequences of your actions, IAM RoadSmart's research team added up all the costs that can follow a drink drive conviction to see exactly how much ‘one for the road' can really take out of you.

How the costs for ‘one for the road' stack up

For a start you will be looking at a hefty fine. IAM RoadSmart settled on an average figure of £5000 but the fines are now unlimited and decided by the judge so the number can be as big as they decide it needs to be. On top of that, should you decide to plead not guilty you'll be paying a solicitor a sizeable chunk. A survey of lawyers specialising in not-guilty drink drive convictions came back with an average cost for legal fees of £11,000. You're already up to £16k and you haven't even left the courtroom yet.

You'll inevitably be staring down the barrel of a driving ban and that's going to have a significant impact on every aspect of your life. Need to nip to the supermarket? You'll need to call a taxi. Daily commute? You're on the bus or the train. Every journey you take is on somebody else's timetable and requires you to put your hand in your pocket to the tune of £2,000 over the average 15 month ban.

When you do eventually get your licence back you then have to contend with the insurance minefield. They will all know you've been convicted so there's no escaping the massive hike in your insurance premiums after your ban ends.

Additional insurance costs

For the five years after your conviction you will be looking at an extra £13,500 in insurance premiums. That's an extra £2,700 per year. Whatever you were paying for your car insurance before is going to nothing more than a fond memory. You'll be looking at the same sort of insurance premiums usually reserved for 17 year old drivers who passed their test yesterday.

If your conviction leads to employment issues, as it does for many people caught driving while over the limit, you could really take a hit. Losing your job and facing the financial stress of not being able to pay the bills, missing out on promotions and pay rises while everyone around you advances up the ladder. Based on data from the Office for National Statistics the total loss of earnings for someone on the average salary is around £38,500 for the 15 months following a conviction. Bear in mind the ONS says the average salary in the UK in 2019 was £36,611 that's basically an entire year's salary plus a few little bonuses down the drain.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said:

“In the run up to the festive period this year, many people's drinking habits will have changed as a result of the coronavirus. So, whether you're raising a glass for the festive season at home or, where you're able, in a restaurant or pub, it's important to remember that an extra drink comes with a huge hidden cost if it pushes you over the limit….Drink driving wrecks lives and is totally unacceptable in any circumstance. However, some people still think they are safe to drive when they've had just a couple of drinks or are using home measures, which can quickly push them over the limit.”

If the very real possibility of killing or seriously injuring yourself and others isn't enough to make you think twice then maybe the thought of that £70,000 pint might be a bit more sobering. Know your limits - or best of all, don't drink and drive at all.

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