The drunk drivers who don't learn their lesson

More than 8,000 motorists have been caught drink-driving twice in the past five years.

Nearly 450 people were prosecuted three times, while two were caught on six occasions, according to DVLA data released in response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Press Association.

AA president Edmund King described the numbers as “astonishing” and suggested the process for returning licences after drink-drive bans had been served should be reviewed.

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The figures relate to DR10 endorsements handed to drivers for driving or attempting to drive while above the legal alcohol limit.

Motorists caught drink-driving face a ban of at least a year, an unlimited fine and in the most serious cases up to six months’ imprisonment, although some are offered places on rehabilitation courses to reduce the length of their disqualification.

Mr King said: “The fact that more than 8,000 drivers have been caught twice in five years is all the more astonishing when they should have been off the road for a year or more.

“The repeat offender figures also suggest that a minority of drivers have a drink problem rather than a driving problem.

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“Perhaps it is time to review some of the medical checks and rehabilitation courses before allowing these drivers back on the road.”

A drink-driver not deemed to be a high risk offender can apply to get their licence back once their ban is over by filling out a form, which includes questions about their medical condition.

The DVLA said it was duty bound to issue a licence when a driver had served their disqualification period, but it would investigate and take “appropriate action” if there was any indication of “an ongoing issue with alcohol”.

High risk offenders - such as those caught drink-driving twice within 10 years or found to be at least two and a half times the legal alcohol limit - must pass an additional medical assessment which includes having blood tests, before a licence is returned.