Coronavirus: stay safe with our facts, information and practical advice about alcohol and your health

How to report a drink driver

Drink driving kills. Get the facts on how to report a drink driver before they hurt themselves, or someone else.

Drink driving: the impact

Drink driving is deadly. In 2017, 8,350 people in the UK were injured by drink drivers – and an additional 250 were killed.[1] Everybody knows that drink driving is against the law. Yet, over 70,000 people are still caught doing it by the police every year.[2]

If someone is convicted of drink driving they face six months in prison, a driving ban for a year, or a hefty fine.

Drink driving: the legal limit

There are strict legal alcohol limits for UK drivers.

However, as Inspector Nick Gamblin, Derbyshire County Partnerships Liaison Officer,  advises – if you’re driving it’s best not to drink any alcohol at all. 

“It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit,” he says.

“The way alcohol affects you depends on your weight, age, sex and metabolism – as well as the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking, what you’ve eaten recently and your stress levels at the time.”

“So if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.”

What if I see someone drink and drive?

  • Nick’s advice is clear – if you see someone drunk about to drive then call the police.
    “If you see someone attempting to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, please call 999 as this may require urgent police action,” he says.
    You might need to supply: 
  • the vehicle’s registration number and a description (including colour and make). 
  • a description of the drink driver and their name and address if you know it.
  • other useful information such as the places they often drink, where they usually drive and if they have access to any other vehicles.
    Meanwhile, if you want to report a drink driver after the drink driving has taken place, you can call the police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
    Remember, someone can still be over the legal alcohol limit the day after drinking.

Find out more about driving the day after drinking alcohol

Can I talk someone out of drink driving?

“Trying to talk to someone should only take place if it is felt safe to do so,” says Nick.

So, while it’s a smart idea to talk to a friend about sharing an Uber home, think twice if it’s a stranger – there’s a possibility they might get violent or abusive.

If you’re out at a bar, tell security or bar staff that you’re worried. They’re trained to safely intervene.

Four steps to reporting a drink driver

  1. Talk to them (but only if it’s safe). If they’re a friend, try and talk them round to sharing an Uber home. Beware of doing the same for strangers, they may get violent or abusive. 
  2. Tell the bar staff. If you’re out, talk to the bar staff or security, they should be trained to deal with the situation. 
  3. Phone 999. If you see someone about to drink and drive call 999 and ask for the police. 
  4. Have the facts. Be prepared to tell police the car’s registration number, a description of the vehicle and the person involved, if you can.

[1] Department for Transport. (2019). Reported drink drive accidents and casualties in Great Britain since 1979. [Dataset]. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2019].

[2] Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). (2018). Road safety factsheet. Drinking and driving factsheet. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 20 November 2019].


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