MOTORISTS in the north of Scotland have the UK’s highest drink and drug-driving rates, a study has found.
An analysis of car insurance quotes from across the UK showed drivers in Aberdeen and Inverness postcode areas had the most convictions, in relation to quotes, for the offences in the past five years.
Drivers living in areas with a Dundee postcodes were placed fourth and Kirkcaldy postcodes placed ninth.
Researchers looked at nearly 12 million quotes issued over a year from September 2012 to September 2013.
The figures were published yesterday by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket.com as the Christmas party season approaches and just days before the launch of the annual Scottish festive drink and drug-driving crackdown.
The analysis showed scaffolders, builders’ labourers, roofers and floor layers were the most likely to have a conviction for drink or drug driving, with at least four per 1,000 quotes. Those least likely to have convictions were midwives, paramedics, researchers and police officers.
Kevin Pratt, a car insurance expert for the website, said: “The festive season is approaching fast, and many look forward to an extra tipple to get into the party spirit. But few people understand how long it takes for the effects of alcohol to wear off and how long it can take for their blood alcohol level to read below the legal drink-drive limit. The manual occupations at the top of the table are typical ‘thirsty’ jobs, where many workers finish work relatively early and go to the pub.
“They’re also jobs that involve early starts, driving to the site and starting work first thing in the morning, even after a night out. There’s a risk workers can take to the road before the alcohol has left their system, which means they would read positive if breathalysed.”
Drivers aged 20-24 had the highest conviction rate, at 2.3 per 1,000 quotes, nearly five times as high as those aged between 50 and 64. Men were more than twice as likely as women to have a conviction.
Simon Best, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “Lack of public transport is no excuse for any driver to risk a journey under the influence.
“Offenders may think they stand more chance of getting away with it in quiet rural areas, but these roads are actually the most dangerous, with more fatalities than on city streets.
“An alcohol-induced lapse of concentration can lead to unsurvivable high speed crashes.
“A hard day’s work may seem a good justification for a quick pint on the way home but responsibility for your and others safety comes with every driving licence.”
Scottish Government figures showed 4,730 people were convicted of drink or drug driving in the year to March, including 588 in the former Grampian police area, which covered the Aberdeen postcode area, 366 in Northern, which included the Inverness postcode area, and 308 in Fife.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Whether you live in a city or town or in rural Scotland, our message is clear and simple – don’t drink or take drugs and drive. If people heed this advice, they should never find themselves with a criminal conviction.”