- One in ten motorists think drink-driving should always result in a prison sentence
While they might not have been behind the wheel themselves, 18 per cent of UK drivers have knowingly put themselves in danger over the festive season by getting into a car with someone who was over the limit, reveals the latest Safety on Wheels Report from Post Office Motor Insurance[i].
People are most likely to have been driven by a friend (11 per cent) who was over the legal drink-drive limit, followed by a family member (7 per cent), while four per cent have accepted a lift with a colleague who they thought was over the limit.
Worryingly over two thirds (68 per cent) of UK drivers were unable to correctly identify the legal amount they could drink before taking to the roads – with this falling to less than a quarter (23 per cent) of women, compared to 40 per cent of men.
Paul Havenhand, Head of Insurance at Post Office comments: “Christmas is a time when many of us are likely to have an extra drink or two. However, getting behind the wheel when your reactions might be impaired is both dangerous and, dependent upon the amount you have had, illegal. If you are convicted for drink driving it can have consequences you might not have foreseen; a motoring conviction might well limit your ability to take out motor insurance in the future. Passengers should be equally aware of the dangers of drink-driving; although they might not be breaking the law, they are still putting themselves at risk of danger by getting into a car with someone they know to be over the limit.”
Christmas time, mistletoe and wine
Unsurprisingly, the month of December sees alcohol playing a large part in many revellers’ Christmas celebrations. Over the three-days of Christmas itself, one in five drivers (18 per cent) who admit to driving after consuming two or more units of alcohol, are most likely to do so on Christmas Day. However, for some drivers that have had one too many, the only option is to find an alternative way to get home. In some cases seven per cent have risked invalidating their insurance policy by allowing an unnamed driver to get behind the wheel of their car.
While some drivers are happy to take their chances and get into the driving seat after a few drinks, a significant number strongly believe that any form of drink driving should be punished. Almost half (48 per cent) of all motorists think drivers who are pulled over for being over the limit should receive a significant fine, while a further 46 per cent would call for their license to be revoked automatically. One in ten (13 per cent) think the crime should always result in a prison sentence.
Drivers who have taken to the road after a drink or two admit that with hindsight it was a mistake; eight per cent said their judgement had been impaired at the time, while a fifth (20 per cent) of all motorists have allowed a hangover to cloud their judgement and driven the day after a night of heavy drinking when either still over the limit, or very close to it.
Paul Havenhand, Head of Insurance at Post Office comments: “One of the joys of Christmas is celebrating with family and friends. People should ensure they enjoy the festive season safely by planning ahead, either by electing a designated driver or planning to take an alternative means of transport to get home.
“Wherever possible, always try to plan ahead. If you know you are likely to be drinking later in the day, make sure you know where the nearest public transport link is, or have the number of a licensed taxi firm. Make sure you have nothing more to worry about other than a slightly sore head the next day. Having that extra drink is not worth risking your license, or the safety of yourself and those around you.”
For more information, please contact:
Post Office Press Office
Tel: 020 7250 2268
Mob: 07717 294529
[i] Opinium Survey of 2,005 adults between 26th and 29th November 2013 of which 1,364 own a car.
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It serves around 20 million customers a week and half of all small businesses. 93% of the total population live within one mile of a post office and 99.7% within three miles. For many rural communities the post office is the only retail outlet. Post offices remain highly valued and trusted and are the focal point for many communities. For more information, visit www.postoffice.co.uk
About the Post Office
The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.
The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit http://www.postoffice.co.uk/.
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