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Mapped: These Countries Carry The Heftiest Fines If You’re Caught Drink-Driving


Nov 27, 2021

With drink-driving offences on the rise, a new study from Confused.com has taken a look at the countries around the world that have the highest fines for offenders.

Looking at 47 countries across the world, the study looked into yearly death rates from drink-driving, the BAC limits, and the maximum fine, suspension and prison sentences for those caught.

The top 15 countries and their fines were:

  1. United Kingdom – Unlimited Fines

  2. South Korea – Won 20,000,000 / £12,370

  3. Singapore – SGD 20,000 / £10,889

  4. Belgium – €12,000 / £10,383

  5. Qatar –  QR 50,000 / £10,064

  6. Luxembourg – €10,000 / £8,600

  7. Japan – ¥1,000,000 / £6,660.00

  8. South Africa – R 120,000 / £5,841

  9. Italy – €6000 / £5,177

  10. Norway – NK 90,255* / £5,138

  11. Austria – €5,900 / £5,098

  12. Denmark – DK 43,487Avg* / £5,031

  13. United Arab Emirates – AED 25,000 / £5,024

  14. Ireland – €5000 /£4,297

  15. France €4,500 / £3,861

The UK holds the highest maximum fine for offenders as there is no fixed maximum. Usually, fines are based upon the severity of the crime along with the person’s salary and whether it was a repeat offence.

Some other revealing insights from the data:

  • Offenders in Uzbekistan are expected to pay out the equivalent of 25 times their average monthly salary** at USZ 33,000,000 (£2,280). They were also revealed to have the harshest laws against drink-driving offenders in the index

  • Those caught offending in China only have to pay CNY 29,300 (£231), the equivalent to 0.07% of their monthly salary

  • The average amount offenders are expected to pay is £3,155, or twice their monthly salary

  • In Thailand, where the yearly death rate from drink-drive incidents per 100,000 people is 32.7, the maximum fines are 20,000 Baht (£435), equivalent to 0.21% their monthly salary

  • The most lenient European country is the Netherlands, where fines are €950 (£231). Yearly death rates here are 3.8 per 100,000 people (with the average from the countries analysed being 10.13)

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, says: “With borders opening up again, it’s likely that many travellers will be considering renting a car to help them explore the area while on holiday.

“And while the general advice is not to drive after having a drink it’s important that we are aware of how drink-driving laws may differ across different countries.

“Some only account for minor amounts that are found in medication, while some popular tourist destinations have a strict zero-tolerance policy, such as Hungary and Dubai.

“With such varying drinking limits around the world, it’s always best to measure your intake, even in the morning after you have had a drink the night before, if you need to drive.

“Our morning-after calculator can help you understand how long alcohol can stay in your system and allow you to work out an estimate on your blood alcohol content so that you aren’t caught out. And if you’re ever unsure, we always advise you give driving a miss and opt for a taxi or a walk instead, where hopefully you can take in the lovely sights on your trip at the same time.

“We always recommend that, if you’re going to drive, don’t drink, and if you’re going to drink, don’t drive.”