Almost a quarter of drivers admit to getting behind the wheel knowing they are likely to still be over the alcohol limit from drinking the night before, a new survey to mark National Road Safety Week (Nov 23-29) has found.
And despite continued national awareness campaigns aimed at stamping out drink driving, close to one in four of British drivers questioned admitted to knowing someone who regularly drives over the limit.
The survey was commissioned by our personal injury claims specialists at Hudgell Solicitors, as we see a spike in cases each year from November to January related to worsening weather conditions, poor driving skills, and law-breaking.
With the festive period approaching, the survey focussed on the judgement people make as to their own abilities when having drank alcohol, and even when getting into their vehicles the morning after a night out.
Interestingly, 24 per cent – almost one in four people – said they knew somebody who regularly drove over the legal limit, with those aged 25-34 the most likely age group to get into a car with a driver knowing they were close to or over the limit.
A quarter of men surveyed said they felt ok to drive after two alcoholic drinks, compared to just 13 per cent of women.
Matt Tuff, a solicitor who specialises in handling road accident compensation claims for Hudgell Solicitors, says the results may seem shocking at first, but reflect an attitude where many drivers wrongly still assume they’ll be ok either if they’ve had one or two drinks, or have had a night’s sleep.
“This survey paints a very interesting picture of how many drivers perhaps flout the drink-drive laws, putting themselves and others in serious danger of serious injury, because they don’t really see themselves as being over the limit,” he said.
“It is all too easy to assume you’ll be ok the morning after a night drinking, or even perhaps if you’ve ‘only had a couple’ and don’t have far to drive, that you’ll be ok. The reality is the limit is there for a very good reason.
“This survey focussed on the ‘social conscience of people. Those who think ‘I’ll be ok’. The message is thought that there is no decision process to be made if you have had a drink, and if it is the morning after, make sure you are back under the limit.
“As specialists in handling accident compensation claims, we see the devastating impact serious road accidents can have on peoples’ lives. They can be life-changing incidents, leaving the victims needing a complete package of support to provide them with any chance of being able to rebuild their lives.
“Leaving somebody facing that kind of battle is not something anybody wants on their conscience, so we feel that it is important to raise this issue as part of Road Safety Week, as well as the need for people to generally adjust their driving to meet the tougher conditions on the roads.
“The festive period is sadly a time when we still continue to see many people taking wrong decisions which can ruin lives.”
The survey, which questioned more than 1,000 drivers of all ages, found a third of 35-44 year-olds admitting to driving in the morning knowing they may still be over the limit, with men in general the main culprits, as 30 per cent admitted to doing so, compared to just 16 per cent of women.
Equally concerning is that 30 per cent of Brits questioned admitted getting into a car with a driver knowing they were close to or over the drink-drive limit, with 25-34 year-olds more likely to take this risk than any other age group.
This, coupled with the fact that 42 per cent of people admitted they wouldn’t be prepared to inform police if they knew a close friend often drove over the limit, suggests the British public are not taking drink-drive laws seriously, despite the obvious dangers.
- Nearly three in ten (29%) people who have been driving for over five years say they wouldn’t be confident in passing their test now if they had to take it again.
- Almost a quarter (23%) of people admit knowingly driving in the morning suspecting they may still be over the drink drive limit from the previous night.
- A third of 35-44 year olds admit to driving in the morning knowing they may still be over the limit.
- Almost a quarter (24%) of people say they know someone who regularly drives over the limit.
- 30% of Brits admit getting into a car with a driver knowing they were close to or over the drink-drive limit.
- 25-34 year olds are more likely to get into a car with a driver knowing they were close to or over the drink-drive limit than any other age group.
- A quarter of men say surveyed said they thought could have two alcoholic drinks to be safe to drive, compared to just 13 per cent of women.