Three million adults admit drink driving with kids in the car

  • Over a third (36 per cent) of British adults who have driven after drinking alcohol have done so with children in the car
  • August is the peak for drink driving arrests, seeing 239 every day
  • Motorists feel more comfortable driving after a double spirit and mixer than two singles, even though they contain the same amount of alcohol
  • As people celebrate freedom through the summer, 8.7 million would be confident driving home from an event having had an alcoholic drink


New research from Churchill Motor Insurance1 reveals that over a fifth of motorists (22 per cent, or 8.7 million people) would feel confident driving a vehicle having had an alcoholic drink, and a third of these (36 per cent), nearly 3.2 million people, have done so with children in the car.  Men are somewhat more likely to drink drive with kids in the car, with 39 per cent admitting to having done so, compared to 32 per cent of women.

Further research2 by the insurer shows August has the highest number of drink driving arrests of any month, with 239 every day. August is followed closely by the month of July with 233 a day and September with 222 a day.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the alcohol limit for drivers is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath and in Scotland, the alcohol limit for drivers is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.3 A third (34 per cent) of drivers who would be comfortable driving after drinking admit they would do so after two or more 330ml cans of beer (the equivalent of 3.3 units or more), while a quarter (25 per cent) would have two or more small glasses of wine (3.3 units or more). Further to this, 27 per cent would have two or more single spirits with a mixer (two units or more) and 25 per cent would have two or more pints of beer (4.5 units or more).

Interestingly, more motorists said that they’d feel more comfortable driving after one double spirit with a mixer (33 per cent) than after two single spirits with a mixer (19 per cent) – even though they contain the same number of units.

With social diaries busier than any time over the past 18 months, the insurer is warning it could lead to a rise in people drinking and driving. More than a fifth of drivers (22 per cent) would be confident driving home from an event having had an alcoholic drink. Men are twice as likely to do so than women (28 per cent vs 15 per cent) and younger people are most likely to take risks. Over a quarter of 18-34 year olds (28 per cent) feel confident driving home after drinking at an event compared to 17 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

People also say they’d be more likely to drink and drive when coming home from pubs, bars and restaurants (44 per cent) compared to more private social engagements such as barbecues (34 per cent), picnics (33 per cent) and parties at someone’s home (29 per cent) or another venue (30 per cent).

Nicholas Mantel, Head of Motor Insurance for Churchill, said: “Now restrictions have lifted, and people have begun to return to their busy social lives, it is important to remember to have fun yet stay sensible. Driving when drinking alcohol can be incredibly dangerous, for the drivers, passengers, and other road users.

“If you are planning to drink, think about how you’ll be travelling home and choose a designated driver - perhaps take it in turns with your friends or partner to make sure you all get home safely.”

Regionally, it is London (31 per cent) that has the highest proportion of people who would feel comfortable driving after drinking, followed by the West Midlands (27 per cent), the South East (26 per cent) and East Midlands (26 per cent). The most cautious regions, meanwhile, are Scotland, where they have stricter drink driving laws and where 72 per cent of adults say that they would never drive after having consumer alcohol, followed by the North East (67 per cent) and Northern Ireland (58 per cent).4


Notes to Editor

1          Consumer omnibus research commissioned with Opinium among 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ between 6th and 9th July 2021, weighted to be nationally representative.

2          Freedom of Information Act request made to 45 police forces across the UK in June 2021. 32 forces (71 per cent) provided usable data.

3          Drink drive limits in the UK:

4          The figures for London, West Midlands and East Midlands (31 per cent, 27 per cent and 26 per cent would feel comfortable driving after drinking), as well as for North East and Northern Ireland (67 per cent and 58 per cent would never drive after having consumer alcohol) are indicative only due to the small base sizes within the sample.

For further information please contact:

Hayley Saunders
Churchill PR Manager

Tel: 07814269915

Email: [email protected]


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.  

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.  

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200 300 or visiting