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One fifth of drivers admit risking drink driving
Nearly one in five drivers (19%) admit to having taken a risk by drink driving at Christmas, according to a new AA/Populus poll of over 22,000 drivers launched at the start of a joint AA/Pernod Ricard anti drink drive campaign.
However there is good and bad news in this finding:
The good news is that half of these drivers revealed that their drink driving happened over 20 years ago. Another 4 percent admitted to drink driving between 10 and 20 years ago.
The bad news is that some 3% still admit to drink driving in the last five years, including 1% who admit to drink driving last year.
This research shows that drink driving is more likely to happen when people are young, as is the case today with more drivers aged between 20 and 24 failing breath tests than any other age group. And it also shows that social norms and attitudes to drink driving have changed over time.
AA/Pernod Ricard UK campaign
Thirty years ago, in 1982, attitudes to drink driving were very different. Many drivers viewed drink driving as an acceptable risk. Yet almost 6000 people a year died on the roads, 1550 (26%) of these being in reported drink drive accidents.
In 2011, 1901 died, 280 (15%) in drink drive accidents. Things have improved in relation to drink driving but there is still some way to go.
Much of the change in social attitudes has been influenced by drink driving campaigns. The AA has already welcomed the return of the Government’s Think! television campaign this Christmas. The AA/Populus poll also showed that 50% of respondents felt that better education and publicity about drinking and driving had made the biggest contribution to reducing drink drive deaths. Some 16% felt that greater responsibility among motorists were the main drivers of that change.
The AA campaign with Pernod Ricard UK is aimed at younger drivers, trying to make them take more responsibility and trying to build on the reductions achieved over the last 20 years. The AA will be targeting drivers whilst Pernod Ricard UK will target drinkers. The joint message is a clear “Don’t Drink and Drive.”
This comes at a time when the economy may well mean that people cut back on the use of taxis to and from parties and opt to use their own car. Nearly two thirds (62%) in the AA/Populus poll felt that cutting back on taxi use was likely and would lead to an increase in drink driving.
Last year some 280 deaths and 1,290 serious injuries were related to drinking and driving.
Campaigns are essential to reinforce the message for the majority of drivers and to educate the new generation of drivers. It really is not worth dying for the sake of a drink. Drinking and driving do not mix
Edmund King, AA president
Edmund King, AA president, said: “Our research shows that the number of drivers admitting drink driving has dropped dramatically over the last twenty years although 280 people were still killed in drink drive crashes last year.
“Campaigns are essential to reinforce the message for the majority of drivers and to educate the new generation of drivers. It really is not worth dying for the sake of a drink. Drinking and driving do not mix. Our key message is if you are going to drink, don't drive and if you are going to drive, don't drink.”
Denis O’Flynn, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard UK says: “We are pleased to continue this campaign to educate drivers to accept responsibility, particularly over the Christmas season. This fifth phase of our partnership focuses on education as the most effective way to tackle consumption of alcohol. Although the numbers risking drink driving have dropped dramatically over the last 20 years, new and experienced drivers still need to be reminded of the risk, one drink driver is still one too many.”
The AA will also be campaigning in partnership with Pernod Ricard UK over the Christmas period to remind drivers and drinkers of the dangers of mixing drinking with driving.
(11 December 2012)
The campaign launched on 10 December and will run over the Christmas period until the beginning of January 2013.
It is provisionally estimated that 2011 saw 280 deaths, 1290 serious injuries and 9,990 total casualties directly related to drink driving incidents.
Populus interviewed 22,287 drivers between 22nd and 29th November 2012.