AA advice for a safe World Cup on UK roads
Drivers and their passengers will have to have their wits about them over the next month as football fans celebrate the World Cup with street kickabouts in the evenings and boozy televised games at night, the AA warns.
Excitement and a football party atmosphere carry the risk of fans letting down their road safety guard and forgetting their normally cautious driving behaviour.
With many games being screened at pubs and clubs, plans to drive booze-free to and from the celebrations may go awry.
However, AA-Populus research shows that friends are not shy of stepping in if the designated driver fails to follow the game plan and downs the alcohol. According to a poll of 23,450 drivers last summer, when faced with a designated driver who had had one too many, most drivers (68%) would confiscate the keys and call a cab. This is most likely among those in Northern Ireland (80%).
Females are more likely (74%) than males (65%) to take away the keys if drivers go over the limit. Middle-aged drivers (35-54 yrs) (71%) are more likely to take away the keys than the youngest drivers (65%) and the oldest drivers (64%).
A more sobering prospect is the more than one in 20 of AA members (6%) who would turn down the lift, find another way home and report their friend to the police - rising to 8% in the South West.
Drivers who drink during games lasting until 1am in the morning will also have to watch out for still being over the limit the following morning when they set off for work. The Association of Chief Police Officers and local forces have warned of stepping up the roadside enforcement of drink-drive laws, around the clock.
Other drivers will have to be wary of match-winning celebrations spilling out unexpectedly on to the streets.
Even before the games, drivers will have to keep their eyes open for youngsters trying to emulate their soccer heroes during unorganized games in parks, next to the roadside or in the street. In the past, community associations, youth clubs and other local groups have arranged kickabouts and mini tournaments at safer locations.
celebrating football fans need to keep their eye on the ball when it comes to drinking and driving during the World Cup
Edmund King, AA president
“At least the games aren’t in the late afternoon, which has previously led to fans racing to get home after work. This time, the televised World Cup should be a much more leisurely festival of football – plenty of time to kick a ball around in the late sun, and a relaxed lead-in to the match,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“However, celebrating football fans need to keep their eye on the ball when it comes to drinking and driving during the World Cup. It is too easy to get carried away by the excitement of the matches. However, taking a risk with alcohol while getting behind the wheel, even the morning after, is no game.”
The anguish of going out of the tournament on penalties is nothing compared to the penalties for being caught drink-driving, or being responsible for maiming or killing someone on the road. The best tactics for watching a World Cup match away from home is: if you are drinking, don’t drive; and if you’re driving, don’t drink. That way you keep your licence, your freedom and your mates.
(12 June 2014)