The Populus report, published by the AA, surveyed 18,251 of its members. to find that drinking and driving often begins with an excuse as drinking-drivers try to find a way to justify their behaviour.
After “It’s only down the road” (60 per cent) the next most popular excuses given were: “I’ve had food, so that will have soaked the alcohol up” (56 per cent), “It’s been a while since the last drink” (45 per cent), “There won’t be any traffic around” (28 per cent) and “I won’t get caught” (27 per cent).
The poll found that young drivers are most likely to have drink-driving crashes and it’s noticeable that more young respondents had heard the excuses than older drivers.
Sixty-seven per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds had heard the ‘only down the road’ excuse while 35 per cent had heard the ‘I won’t get caught’ one and 30 per cent the ‘There won’t be traffic about’ excuse.
“It’s concerning that some young people calculated the risk of not getting caught rather than the risk of an accident,” commented AA President Edmund King, “Drivers must accept responsibility and stop making excuses for drink-driving.”
Drink-driving fatalities account for 17 per cent of all UK road fatalities while drivers aged between 17 and 24 are more likely to have a drink-driving-related accident.
In the run up to the Festive Season here, drinkaware.ie is rolling out a nationwide campaign in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to raise awareness of what a standard drink is and the period of time it takes the body to eliminate it. The aim is to reduce incidences of road collisions due to ‘morning after’ drink-driving when many individuals are unaware of the continuing effects of alcohol.
Through this campaign, drinkaware.ie and the RSA also aim to dispel myths about the sobering effects of various popular ‘cures’. drinkaware.ie’s Chief Executive Fionnuala Sheehan highlights the importance of time in the sobering process: “People believe that many things – a couple of hours’ sleep, a big breakfast, a cup of coffee, a cold shower – are enough to enable you to drive the morning after a night out. The fact is that only time can allow your body to eliminate alcohol and to recover so that you are fit to drive again.” On average, it takes the body roughly one hour to process one standard drink and no ‘cure’ will change that.
In addition to a national radio and poster advertising campaign, MEAS has produced handy information cards, specifically-designed to be kept for future reference, explaining what a standard drink is and how it affects your body. They fit into wallets and have space to write in the local taxi number. These cards will be distributed at Garda checkpoints and will be displayed in national retailers plus a number of licensed premises and off-licences.
Campaign materials are available free of charge from MEAS. To request the ‘Morning After’ posters or info cards, please contact MEAS on 01 6114811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.