High incidence of repeat offending by drink-drivers

By Neil Logan

Nearly 1 in 5 of the people currently classed as high-risk drink-driving offenders has been disqualified more than once.

The DVLA compiles a "high-risk register" of drink driving offenders, which contain people who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Drivers who were more than two and a half times over the legal limit
  • Drivers who have two or more drink-drive offences within a 10-year period
  • Drivers who refuse to give breath, blood or urine samples

Pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the BBC learned that 42,207 of the 230,149 people currently on the high-risk offenders list have been on it before. They were judged to be safe to drive again, removed from the list, and had their drivers licence returned to them. They were then found guilty of one or more drink-driving offences and have been put back on the list. The figures represent an almost 20 per cent incidence of re-offending by high-risk drivers.

The findings come in the same week as provisional figures suggest that 280 people died in drink-drive accidents in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK in 2012 - up 17 per cent on the previous year.

New rules introduced earlier this year will require new drink-drive offenders to undergo a medical test to prove they are not alcohol-dependent before their licence will be returned after a ban. However, campaigners are saying that much more needs to be done to tackle drink-driving, and re-offending by convicted drink-drivers.

If have been charged with a driving offence in Northern Ireland and require a motoring specialist solicitor to represent you, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 0546.