Half of drivers know a drink driver and most would report them

13 November 2008

a winter scene

Almost half of all motorists (47%) know someone who drinks and drives, according to an AA Populus poll of 11,388 motorists published at the launch of the Safer Winter Journeys road safety campaign in Scotland.

The Winter Safe Journeys campaign is run by Central Scotland Police, drinks manufacturer, Diageo, and Central FM.

Two thirds of those surveyed (67%) said they would notify the police if someone they knew drove under the influence of a large amount of alcohol that would put them far in excess of the drink drive limit, with 32% saying they would be very likely to do this.

There were 9,620 injury accidents in Great Britain involving at least one driver/rider over the legal drink drive limit according to provisional figures for 2007. Of these 410 were fatal accidents.

Drink drive fatalities account for 16 per cent of all accident fatalities. In 2006 over half the drivers killed between 10pm and 4am were over the limit. Seventy four per cent of pedestrians killed between 10 pm and 4am were over the legal limit for drivers.

The AA Populus poll shows:

  • Older drivers (55 yrs plus) were more likely to know somebody who drinks and drives (51%)
  • Drivers in Scotland were least likely to know someone who drinks and drives (43%)
  • Drivers in the W Midlands were most likely to know someone who drinks and drives (51%)
  • Respondents aged 18-24 were least likely to notify the police if someone they knew drove under the influence of a large amount of alcohol (19% very likely, 35% quite likely)
  • Respondents were more likely to say that they would report someone they didn't know who have driven under the influence of a large amount of alcohol (49% very likely, 31% quite likely)
  • Drivers in Scotland are most likely to report someone they know driving under the influence of a large amount of alcohol (44% very likely) whereas N Ireland (23%) and London (25%) had the least respondents very likely to report someone


Edmund King, AA president said: "More than 400 people were killed in drink drive crashes last year in Great Britain so drivers are best advised not to drink if they are going to drive. Drink drivers need to look over their shoulder and stay away from the car as almost half of those that know them say they are likely to report them to the police. And the study shows the risk is greater from someone they don't know - it only takes a registration number and a mobile phone."

The Safer Winter Journeys Campaign

This year's three month road safety campaign in Scotland follows successful campaigns in 2006 and 2007 and the AA is this year working closely with the other partners to raise public awareness of the campaign.

Head of the Road Policing Unit, Chief Inspector Donald McMillan, said: "This is the third winter campaign we have run with Diageo and Central FM. This year we welcome on board the Automobile Association who bring a wealth of experience and a different perspective on how we can tackle some of the road policing issues.

"Our campaign will focus on the many aspects of road policing that we carry out including drink/drug driving, failing to wear seatbelts, using mobile phones while driving, speeding and young drivers. The whole emphasis is about reducing the number of people injured and killed on our roads.

"We will be out in force over the winter months and we will be taking significant action in relation to road related offences. All drivers involved in collisions, and those stopped for committing a moving traffic offence, will be breath-tested as a matter of routine."

Lorraine Martin, Diageo's Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said:" The Winter Road Safety Campaign in Central Scotland forms part of Diageo's ongoing commitment to encourage people to embrace a responsible attitude towards safe driving and being a safe road user. We are delighted the AA is supporting the campaign this year."

AA Accident factfile

To support the Safer Winter Journeys road safety campaign in Scotland the AA has put together the following summary of factors contributing towards road accidents.

Familiar roads

Over 60 per cent of pedestrian accidents involve drivers who drive on that road more than three times a week. Only 3.6 per cent involve drivers who have never used the road before. Over 50 per cent of children who are hit by cars cross that particular road at least once a day.


The risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident is more than 10 times greater for a child with hearing difficulties.

Wealth is important

Per head of population there are three times as many pedestrian casualties in the most deprived areas than there are in the least deprived areas.

Mass matters too

Per mile driven, a car is nearly twice as likely to be involved in an accident where someone is injured as a heavy lorry. But the heavy lorry is twice as likely to be involved in an accident where someone is killed.

Urban and rural

Although 54 per cent of road deaths happen on rural roads, 39 per cent on urban roads and 6 per cent on motorways, many people still consider rural roads safe and motorways dangerous. Urban roads still dominate injury statistics.

Not crossing

The pavement isn't safe - 44 pedestrians were killed and another 3000 injured, in accidents while on the footway or verge.

Housing ages/types

When the number of times roads are crossed are taken into consideration, pre- and post-war council housing is most dangerous for pedestrians. The safest is private housing built during the same period.

Private road junctions

Minor junctions and even private drives pose an accident problem in rural areas - as high as one junction accident in four in some areas. Especially high risk is encountered where the drive has changed use - i.e. a farm entrance has become a garden centre, or a private house a restaurant.

Show offs

Young male drivers with young male passengers, drive faster, follow closer and turn into shorter gaps than young males driving alone or with female or older passengers.

Teenage girls

Fifteen year old girls are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in cars than boys of the same age. They are three times as likely to be killed as 13 year old girls. Over half the 15 year olds killed or injured are being driven by drivers under 21.


Populus received 11,388 responses to the online poll between 24 - 28 October 2008

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2 December 2008