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Swansea is in the top 10 UK cities for drunk driving – is Gen Z to blame?

New research has found that young drivers aged 20 and under – aka Generation Z – are more likely to be involved in a drink-driving collision than any other age group.



person opening bottle on car

The findings were provided by rehab provider Abbeycare following an analysis of the latest drink drive collisions and casualties data from the Department for Transport – which also reveals when they are most likely to occur, and in which parts of the UK.  

The number of collisions reported in each age group was adjusted per billion miles driven to determine which demographics have the highest likelihood of being involved in an incident. 

It turns out that drivers aged under 20 are almost two-thirds (65%) more likely to be involved in a drink-driving accident than any other demographic, as this age group reports an average of 86.9 drink-driving collisions per billion vehicle miles each year over the last decade. 

Drivers aged 20 and over report an average rate of 30.7 collisions per billion vehicle miles (BVM), while the national average across all age groups stands at 37.7 per BVM.  


On the other end of the scale, the age group least likely to be involved in an incident is those aged 60 or over, with just 4.9 collisions per BVM reported annually.  

While it’s unclear why teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a road accident involving alcohol, factors like comparative inexperience behind the wheel, spontaneous social plans, and a lack of awareness around legal and safety implications may play a part. 

Age groups most likely to be involved in a drink-driving accident  

 Age Group Average Number of Collisions per BVM  Age Group Average Number of Collisions per BVM 
1 Under 20 86.9 5 35 to 39 22.2 
2 20 to 24 80.9 6 40 to 49 13.7 
3 25 to 29 49.4 7 50 to 59 8.4 
4 30 to 34 35.3 8 60 or over 4.9 

As well as looking at which age groups are involved in the most collisions, the DfT data also reveals the time of day when an incident is most likely to occur – with 11 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. named the riskiest time in the UK, with an average of 18 fatal crashes reported each year. 

In fact, the time window in which most pubs, bars, and clubs close saw the highest incidence of drink-driving collisions overall, with intervals between 12 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. accounting for the second, third and fourth most dangerous times to drive.  


Meanwhile, the morning rush hours were among the safest driving times, with zero fatal drink-driving incidents reported between 9 a.m. and 9:59 a.m. each year and just one reported between 10 a.m. and 10:59 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 8:59 a.m., respectively.  

The times of day when a drink-driving accident is most likely  

 Time of Day Average Number of Fatal Collisions Annually 
1 23:00 to 23:59  18 
2 00:00 to 00:59 17 
3 01:00 to 01:59 17 
4 02:00 to 02:59 16 
5 22:00 to 22:59 16 

Some months carry a higher likelihood of a drink-driving collision than others, the findings show, with August accounting for the most casualties on average per year, with 771.  

This time of year also carries an increased risk, with an average of 723 casualties reported each year in November – making it the third-most dangerous month – while December sees an average of 714 drink-driving-related fatalities each year as the fifth-deadliest month.  

Rounding out the top five most dangerous months for drunk drivers was July – during the peak of festival season – with 761 fatalities reported each year, and October, with 722.  


Finally, some parts of the UK are more susceptible to intoxicated driving than others, as the research analysed the average number of collisions involving drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol per local authority – with Wolverhampton named the most affected city.  

Almost 1 in 10 (9.4%) of all collisions reported over the last decade involved drugs or alcohol in Wolverhampton, with the majority of incidents involving both drugs and alcohol.  

Percentage of collisions involving drugs or alcohol over the past decade

RankCityPercentage of collisions involving drugs or alcohol over the past decade

Meanwhile, the city that reports the lowest likelihood of intoxicated driving is the City of London, with just 2% of its annual road collisions involving drugs and/or alcohol on average.  

Speaking on the findings, an Abbeycare spokesperson said: “It is never a good idea to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs – and with the festive season approaching, it’s likely that there’ll be an increased number of Brits heading on a spontaneous night out after driving into the office that morning, who’ll need to make the right decision in the evening.  


“To avoid endangering yourself and others, always take public transport if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs. It’s important to check schedules and ensure there aren’t any strikes when attending an event – especially if you’ve been tempted to drive home in the past. Remember, you can take a taxi home if the trains or buses aren’t running. 

“If you know you’ll be drinking in the evening, it’s best to leave your car at home and commute into the office – even if it takes a little longer to do so. That way, you avoid making an impulsive decision that can have irreversible consequences for you and others.”  

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