Designated drivers

Who's Gonna Drive You Home? The Cars... with a female driver

19 December 2011

Women are five times more likely to drive home after a night out than men as the designated driver

Women are five times more likely to drive home after a night out than men as the designated driver

Women are five times more likely to drive home after a night out than men as the designated driver, according to the female responses from an AA/Populus poll.

The designated driver is a key element in the fight against drinking and driving, and the linchpin of the Department of Transport's Christmas campaign.

But most of the time women find themselves in the frontline with the “Who’s gonna drive you home?” question as most designated drivers are female.

In an AA Populus study of nearly 17,000 drivers, participants were asked:

"If a couple go somewhere where alcoholic drinks are available, who do you think is most likely to drive back (i.e. be the designated driver)?"

The responses showed that overall, 70 per cent considered it would be a woman - 61 per cent of men expecting that the woman would drive and a staggering 85 per cent of women.  The results were published in the latest edition of Good Housekeeping magazine at the beginning of December.

when the opportunity to drink is not on offer, it is normally the male who races to get behind the wheel

Edmund King, AA president

Edmund King, AA President: said:

"Our AA/Populus poll clearly shows that it is women in the driving seat after a night out.  This is somewhat ironic because when the opportunity to drink is not on offer, it is normally the male who races to get behind the wheel.   We have to ask whether this means that men set out to be designated drivers, and end up being "rescued" by their wives and girlfriends when they succumb to temptation or peer pressure to drink.  At this time of year we should salute our dedicated designated drivers of either sex.

"So the answer to The Cars question ‘Who’s gonna drive you home?’ is almost certainly a woman when drink is involved.”

Regional

There appears to be a slight North – South divide when it comes to women behind the wheel as designated drivers.  In the North East 73% of all respondents think that the women will drive home after a night out whilst the figure drops to 67% in London.

Percentage of respondents who think the women will drive home as designated driver

  • London 67%
  • South 70%
  • South West 71%
  • Scotland 71%
  • Northern Ireland 71%
  • Wales 72%
  • Yorks & Humber 72%
  • North East 73%

Other AA Populus research for the AA/Pernod Ricard UK "Accept Responsibility" campaign show that 27% of males see themselves likely to be talked into having another drink by friends or colleagues, while only 21% or women can see this happening.  "Again, this shows that there is a risk of men being led astray" adds King.  "The only advice is if you are going to drive, don't drink.  If you are going to drink, don't drive.  There are no half measures or compromises."

Drink drive fact-file

  • Drink drive fatalities account for 13.5% of all road accident fatalities
  • In 2010, 9,700 reported casualties occurred as a result of a drunk driver
  • In 2008 there were around 410 pedestrian casualties and 90 pedal cyclist casualties in accidents with a driver over the legal alcohol limit
  • Those aged between 17-24 are more likely to have a drink driving related accident per mile driven
  • Overall, 2.4 % of men involved in an accident failed a breath test in 2010 - well over twice the rate of women.

(updated 31 January 2012)

(AA/Populus poll of 16,961 conducted September 21 – 28 2011)