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A sample of over 600 convicted drivers was analysed across Northern Ireland, showing the number one offence to be driving with alcohol level above the limit.

The data, compiled by, shows that driving with alcohol above the limit accounted for 33% of all convictions, of which over half of offenders (56%) had been driving for a year or less.

The winter evenings, especially in the run up to Christmas, witness a surge in drink driving offences as alcohol intake increases dramatically across the festivities.

Drink/drug driving continues to be a major contributor in serious road traffic collisions in Northern Ireland as ‘impaired by alcohol/drugs’ was the second most common principal causation factor for KSI (killed or seriously injured) casualties in 2023.

Drink/drug driving offences resulted in 3,145 arrests and 2,978 being referred for prosecution. The worst offender was almost 5 times over the limit. 48% of drinking/drug offences were detected at the weekend and July had the most detections (305).

Belfast City recorded the most drink/drug driving offences in 2023 (552). Ards and North Down had the fewest detections (153).

It’s vitally important all drivers heed the warnings, especially those new to driving, and don’t drink and drive. If people need to drive the next day, they should check their blood alcohol levels using the simple online tools available – note these are only an estimate, if drivers are in any doubt about their legal limit, it’s safer to forgo driving the next day altogether.

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal drink limit or unfit because of drink could result in 6 months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000, a ban from driving for at least 12 months or three years, if convicted twice in 10 years.


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