No Excuse for Drink Driving

AA and Pernod Ricard UK anti-drink drive campaign

"It's only down the road" is the most popular excuse given for drink driving, according to a poll to launch the national anti-drink driving campaign run by the Automobile Association and Pernod Ricard UK.

Drinking and driving often starts with an excuse Drinking and driving often starts with an excuse, as drinking drivers try to find a way to justify what is seen by most people as socially unacceptable behaviour.

The campaign highlights the fact that there is no excuse and that drivers need to accept responsibility for their actions.

AA/Populus survey results

According to the 18,251 respondents in the AA/Populus study the most common excuses for drink driving heard were:

1. "It's only down the road" – 60%

2. "I've had food, so that will have soaked the alcohol up" – 56%

3. "It's been a while since the last drink" – 45%

4. "There won't be any traffic around" – 28%

5. "I won't get caught" – 27%

Young drivers are most likely to have drink driving crashes, and it is notable that more young respondents had heard excuses than older drivers.

67% of 18-24 year olds had heard the "only down the road" excuse, 35% the "I won't get caught" response and 30% "There won't be more traffic about".

Young drivers were less likely than older drivers to hear "It's been a while since the last drink". It is concerning that some young people calculate the risk of not getting caught rather than the risk of an accident.


Edmund King, president of the AA said: "There is no excuse for drink driving. Drivers must accept responsibility and stop making excuses for drink driving. A short journey, urban myth or a low perceived risk of being caught are not valid excuses for breaking the law and putting lives at risk. The "it's only down the road" excuse can easily end up with a trip to the morgue.

"Our key message is if you are going to drink, don't drive and if you are going to drive, don't drink".

Pernod Ricard UK's CEO, Jean-Manuel Spriet, added: "We all have a role to play in preventing drink driving. Those that hear the excuses can accept responsibility too – by pointing out that the excuse does not justify the risk. At Pernod Ricard we advise that if you are drinking then it is simple – you don't drive."

Top tips for a safe Summer

  • If you are going to drink, don't drive. If you are going to drive, don't drink.
  • Plan your return before you go, using taxis, public transport, designated drivers or lifts. Remember it's often hard to make arrangements from your drinking venue, especially at the last minute.
  • Don't forget there are services like Scooterman to get you and your car home safely.
  • Driving anywhere with plans to leave the car can be a big temptation to drive home.
  • If you have a designated driver, don't let him (or her) start making excuses about why they can drink.


  • Drink drive fatalities account for 17% of all road accident fatalities
  • In 2009, 11,990 reported casualties occurred as a result of a drunk driver
  • Those aged between 17-24 are more likely to have a drink driving related accident
  • Overall, 2.7% of men failed a breath test in 2009 – well over twice the rate of women

Visit the 'Accept Responsibility' campaign website »

Join the discussion in the AA zone


13 June 2011