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% Pushing the boundaries of the drink-drive limit

New research by the UK’s number one network of approved national breakers has revealed that two fifths of drivers admit to having driven either ‘over’ the drink drive limit, or have driven whilst ‘being unsure’ whether or not they’ve been over the limit in the past 5 years; with the results of an anonymous poll also suggesting that those aged 50 and over are most likely to push the boundaries of the drink-drive limits.

According to a study by the UK’s number one network of approved national breakers, 14% of drivers have knowingly driven whilst over the limit in the past 5 years, whilst a further 27% confess to having driven when ‘unsure’ if they were over the limit having consumed an indeterminate number of units of alcohol. The results of an anonymous poll suggest that the most probable offenders are those aged 50 and over; whilst those aged between 18-30 are least likely to drive under the influence of alcohol.

The study, conducted by ourselves, polled 2,018 UK drivers as part of ongoing research into driving habits; specifically in relation to occasions where drivers admit to ignoring or not abiding to driving laws.

Respondents to the study were initially asked, ‘Have you driven a car whilst knowingly over the drink-drive limit in the past 5 years?’ to which around one in seven, 14%, said that ‘yes’ they had. A further 27% said that they had been ‘unsure’ if they were over the limit in the past, having drunk alcohol but been unaware of the number of units consumed.

The age break down of those who claimed to have answered ‘yes’ or were ‘unsure’, and therefore the ages of those most likely to push the boundaries of the drink-drive limit, were as follows:

· 18-30 years old- 8%

· 30-40 years old- 18%

· 40-50 years old- 23%

· 50+ years old- 51%

The study then looked at whether this was a conscious decision or whether respondents believed they had inadvertently driven when unfit to. The majority, 68% said that they had ‘inadvertently’ driven when unfit to having ‘miscalculated the number of alcohol units consumed’; whilst 32% stated that they did so ‘deliberately’ in the firm knowledge that they were over the drink-drive limit.

Asked whether this infraction was done directly after drinking or the morning after the night before, 44% of drink drivers said that it was done ‘the morning after’ where they went ahead and drove despite knowing they’d still be over the limit. However, the majority, 56%, admitted that it was ‘directly after drinking’ when they had transgressed.

The study also looked at the frequency of drink driving, as it posed the question to those who had admitted to doing so, ‘How many times have you driven over the legal alcohol limit in the past 5 years?’ which revealed the following responses:

· Only once – 42%

· Several times– 38%

· Frequently – 20%

These respondents were then asked for the reasons why they had chosen to drive when over the limit. The majority, 44%, explained that they had ‘no other way of getting home’, and so decided to drive despite being close to or over the limit. 33% explained that ‘other modes of transport were too expensive’, whilst a further 30% believed that they felt they were ‘still fit to drive’ despite knowing that they’d potentially drank more than the legal limit.

Those who had said they’d driven when over the limit or when unsure in the past were asked, ‘Do you regret drink driving?’ to which the majority, 71%, said that ‘yes’ they did. However, the remaining 29% said that ‘no’ they didn’t. 53% of all respondents also believed that the drink-drive limit ‘should be increased’.

Alvaro Adair, General Manager here at Breakeryard, has made the following comment:

‘In today’s world there really is no excuse for driving whilst over the alcohol limit. Every driver should be aware of where the line is and should be aware of the risks involved in crossing it. Not only is it illegal, which can result in a lengthy ban, it’s also incredibly dangerous. You might think that you’re in perfect control of your vehicle, but in reality if an incident occurs which needs a split second reaction time, your senses will be dulled.”

He continued:

“Drinking and driving is rightly deplored by the vast majority. If you know you’re planning on driving, it’s better not to drink at all. What’s the benefit of one pint? If it’s simply the case of liking the taste of beer, there’re non-alcoholic alternatives to turn to. The concept of ‘one for the road’ should definitely firmly be a thing of the past.”