Otherwise known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), drink-driving in the UK is defined as the act of being in possession of a recognised mode of transport (a motorised vehicle such as a car, truck, boat, etc) while under the influence of alcohol. It can become a criminal offence when a subject is caught with blood levels of alcohol in excess of a legal limit. A conviction for drink-driving may not necessarily involve driving a vehicle; you can also be prosecuted in charge of a parked vehicle and/or failing to cooperate with the police in taking a preliminary roadside breath test.

As well as being against the law, drink-driving in excess has also scientifically been shown to greatly increase the risk of injury to all parties on the road. Despite a steady decline in the annual number of drink-driving accidents and fatalities to the lowest levels since records began, it remains the case that thousands of people are injured on the roads by drivers who drink, and the number of fatalities has stayed largely unchanged since 2010. In 2016, the drink drive limit was the subject of a campaign to lower it, featuring a broad coalition of non governmental organisations. For more information, please view our lower the limit campaign page.

The consumption of alcohol can have disruptive impact on other modes of transport, including air travel – as our Fit to fly report found – and on waterways too: boaters may be prosecuted under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 if their actions on the water are seen to be endangering other vessels, structures or individuals and they are under the influence of alcohol.

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