Named and shamed: The UK’s worst postcodes for drink and drug-driving offences

27th November 2014


The Welsh town of Llandrindod Wells has been named and shamed as the area with the UK’s highest rate of drivers with drink or drug-driving convictions on their car insurance policies according to research from MoneySuperMarket.

With the silly season set to kick-off in earnest, the comparison site analysed 11m car insurance quotes run over the last 12 months and found Llandrindod Wells (postcode LD) has the highest proportion of motorists with offences for drink and drug-driving, at 1.9 per 1000 drivers. The rate in the rural Welsh LD postcode is more than double the rate among motorists living in some Greater London postcodes

In 2013, Aberdeen (AB) topped the chart with a rate of 1.5 per 1000 drivers.

Blackpool (FY) – famous for stag and hen dos – and Crewe (CW) are second and third behind Llandrindod Wells in the rankings for the postcodes with the guiltiest drivers, both with rates of 1.8 per 1000.

The Scottish postcodes of Inverness (IV), Kirkcaldy (KY), Aberdeen (AB), Dundee (DD) and Galashiels (TD) also feature in the top 20, as do Welsh hotspots Swansea (SA), Cardiff (CF) and Newport (NP).

Highest Rate of Offences
Rank Postal Area Postal Area Code Rate
1 Llandrindod Wells LD  1.982
2 Blackpool FY  1.856
3 Crewe CW  1.809
4 Swansea SA  1.765
5 Inverness IV  1.723
6 Cardiff CF  1.712
7 Kirkcaldy KY  1.709
8 Shrewsbury SY  1.706
9 Darlington DL  1.695
10 Northampton NN  1.678
11 Lancaster LA  1.633
12 Newport NP  1.624
13 Aberdeen AB  1.621
14 Cleveland TS  1.615
15 Plymouth PL 1,594
16 Preston PR  1.563
17 Durham DH  1.561
18 Dundee DD  1.560
19 Truro TR  1.558
20 Galashiels TD  1.543

Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “All right-minded people understand that drink or drug-driving is wrong – and wrong on so many levels. First and foremost, an intoxicated driver puts the lives of others at risk, whether they are drivers, pedestrians or passengers in his or her own car. Then there is the massive financial and social impact that a conviction can bring, from paying a fine to putting your job on the line to struggling to get affordable car insurance at subsequent renewals.

“So why do people still get behind the wheel with a drink inside them? In a rural location such as Llandrindod Wells it could be the lack of public transport and the misguided belief they won’t get caught. Or maybe motorists are driving the morning after the night before, when they still have excess alcohol in their system. Whatever the circumstances, the fact remains that driving while over the limit is always illegal – there is simply no excuse.”

Drivers in Scotland – including English drivers crossing the border – should be aware that the legal limit for alcohol in Scotland is being reduced on December 5, 2014; the current limit is 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood; it will fall to 50mg. This effectively means that one drink could put someone over the limit.

Pratt added: “With five Scottish postcodes featuring in our top 20 it will be interesting to see what effect the new, lower drink-drive limit will have. Many drivers are already being caught and convicted for drink and drug-driving, and many more could get caught out by the change in the law.”

Postcodes with fewest convictions

Looking at postcodes with relatively few convictions for drink and drug-driving, there is a proliferation of locations – 10 out of 20 – that are within the M25 and on the periphery of central London, possibly because the area benefits from good public transport.

East London has the fewest drivers with convictions, with a rate of 0.76 per 1000 drivers. Second and third are North West London (0.79 per 1000) and North London postcodes (0.8 per 1000).

Lowest Rate of Offences per 1,000 drivers
Rank Postal Area Postal Area Code Rate
1 London E E  0.764
2 London NW NW  0.798
3 London N N  0.803
4 Bradford BD  0.815
5 Ilford IG  0.854
6 Liverpool L  0.906
7 Harrow HA  0.930
8 London W W  0.988
9 London SW SW  1.014
10 London SE SE  1.018
11 Huddersfield HD  1.045
12 Hemel Hempstead HP  1.048
13 Manchester M  1.051
14 Watford WD  1.065
15 Chelmsford CM  1.070
16 Swindon SN  1.098
17 Southall UB  1.103
18 Birmingham B  1.105
19 Luton LU 1.118
20 Blackburn BB  1.123

A further breakdown of car insurance convictions found motorists in their early twenties (aged 20 – 24) are the most likely to have a drink and drug conviction on their licence, at a rate of 2.5 per 1000 drivers. This compares to 0.7 per 1000 for drivers aged 17 – 19 years old, some of whom are only just old enough to drink legally and learn to drive. The research found male motorists are more than twice as likely to offend as women, with conviction rates at 1.7 per 1000 male drivers, compared to 0.7 per 1000 female counterparts.

Institute of Advanced Motorists chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “It’s nearly 50 years since breathalysers were introduced yet incredibly there are still people drink-driving and putting lives at risk.  Motorists have to face the consequences of their actions. The message is really simple. If you are driving, don’t drink at all. If you are drinking, don’t drive at all.”

Pratt added: “There are serious consequences for those caught breaking the drink and drug-driving laws. Those found guilty will receive a driving ban of at least 12 months, a fine of up to £5,000, and in some cases, a prison sentence of up to six months. Even after a ban is served, a conviction will see insurance premiums shoot up by an average £350 – which is more than the cost some people’s policies in the first place.”

For more information, regional breakdowns and video content, visit the MoneySuperMarket drink driving hub.

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