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RAC appeals to young people not to risk drink driving this Christmas

Press release   •   Dec 18, 2012 09:30 GMT

The RAC is urging motorists to leave their vehicles at home this Christmas rather than risk wrecking lives.

  • 18% of 17-24 year olds admit to knowing or believing they have driven under the influence
  • Men are significantly more likely to drive after having a drink than women (13% v 9%)
  • 55% of motorists call for a lifetime ban for regular drink and drug drivers
  • Younger people three times more likely to get in the car with someone they know or suspect to be over the limit than someone over the age of 45

The motoring organisation is particularly appealing to young people not to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol as the RAC Report on Motoring 2012 found a shocking 18% of 17-24 year olds admitted to knowing or believing they have driven under the influence, compared to just 10% of older motorists. And, men are significantly more likely to drive after having a drink than women (13% v 9%).

Younger people are also three times as likely – at 21% – than someone over the age of 45 (8%) to get in a car the morning after with someone they know or suspect to be over the limit.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "In these times of financial cuts it’s encouraging to see that the Department for Transport has found the money for a Christmas drink driving campaign. However, a generation of motorists is growing up without ever having experienced the high profile Government road safety campaigns of previous years which alerted them to the danger of drink and drug driving and other anti-social driving behaviour.

“This attitude highlights the dangers of allowing people to drive without regular reminders about the dangers of drink and drug driving and how impaired senses can lead to fatalities. It also brings back into focus the perception that the lack of visible policing encourages these motorists to continue to endanger themselves and other road users.

“Motorists, while being tolerant of speeding, are much less forgiving of driving regularly, or while excessively, under the influence of drink or drugs, with 55% calling for a lifetime ban for such offences and 95% calling for a ban of some duration. However support for a ban fell to 61% for drink and 73% for drugs for one-off or just over the limit offenders.”

The RAC is once again supporting Coca-Cola’s Designated Driver campaign, which is run in partnership with the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) THINK! Driver Friendly campaign.

David Bizley added: “The RAC fully backs this campaign. The designated driver provides an essential service over the Christmas period and it’s great that they can be kept topped up with soft drinks on nights out. Drinking and driving wrecks lives and this campaign can only help to prevent people taking unnecessary risks."

The RAC also supports the award-winning ‘Don’t Be That Someone’ (www.dontbethatsomeone.co.uk) campaign which addresses the causes and consequences of drink driving among young people. The innovative multi-media campaign, run by Mike McAdam, is designed by young people to reach a wide audience and make a difference to young people’s driving education.

Mike McAdam of ‘Don’t Be That Someone’ said: “Driving safety attitudes are established before young people reach the age that they are legally able to learn to drive. It's imperative that 14 to18 year olds are fully aware of the dangers and serious consequences drink driving can have on individuals, families and whole communities.”

Don’t Be That Someone:

Facts on why drink driving is relevant to young people

  1. In 2010, 34% of all car drivers involved in drink drive accidents are between the ages of 17-24
  2. In 2010, 48% of all car passengers killed or injured in drink drive accidents are between the ages of 17-24
  3. Alcohol affects younger people more than any other age group, and even at the legal alcohol drink drive limit, you are still at six times greater risk of being in a fatal collision than a driver who hasn't been drinking

General drink drive facts

  • Roughly 10,000 people were killed or injured in drink drive accidents in 2011, in Great Britain alone. That works out on average of one person every hour
  • At twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to be involved in a drink drive collision than a driver who has not been drinking
  • In 2011, fatalities due to drink driving rose for the first time in 10 years

Notes to Editors

For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours. ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.

About the RAC

First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members and championing the interests of drivers for more than 120 years.

Today it has more than eight million members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistanceinsurancebuying a used carvehicle inspections and checkslegal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK drivers at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.

The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – is one of a kind and provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch. It provides a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump - and tracks these prices daily to help drivers check if the price they pay to fill up is a fair one.