AA warns of dangerous 'double standard' in drink-drive attitudes

feedback@motor1.com (James Fossdyke)
Car key on a wooden table in a pub

Eight in 10 say you shouldn't drink and drive, but six in 10 say they can because they know their limits.

The AA has warned of a dangerous “double standard” among motorists, as most say those who have consumed alcohol should not drive, but six in 10 claim they’re okay because they “know their limit”.

More on drink-driving:

It comes after a study by the Department for Transport (DfT) found that eight out of 10 UK drivers (81 percent) say motorists should not drive if they have consumed any amount of alcohol. However, 59 percent said they could drive after drinking because they knew how to stay below the drink-drive limit.

At present, drink-driving limits vary in different parts of the UK and Europe. Across much of the continent, including countries such as France and Germany, the limit is 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood - a limit also seen in Scotland. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, meanwhile, the limit stands at 80 mg per 100 ml of blood.

Man at pub drinking beer talking car keys

According to the AA, knowing whether you are below the drink-drive limit is “impossible, and the organisation has expressed concern that the “dangerous” double standards persist despite hardening attitudes towards drink-drivers. Since 2005, the AA says data shows people have consistently agreed that drink-driving is unacceptable in any form, whether a person is below the legal alcohol limit or not. And the latest DfT statistics show that the number of drink-drivers involved in accidents has decreased by more than 40 percent, suggesting a possible decrease in drink-driving.

However, the news also comes after DfT data revealed what one charity called a “continued stagnation” in the number of deaths on UK roads, with fatalities rising by one percent in 2018. Safety charities have complained about the country’s unchanging road safety record, as the number of fatalities has remained more or less the same since 2012.

Man drinking alcohol while driving car

Edmund King, the director of the AA Charitable Trust, said even drivers who had only consumed small amounts of alcohol could find their driving impaired, and those who drank alcohol should find alternative transport.

“It’s impossible to judge your sobriety and ability to drive a car solely by the legal alcohol limits, as the way your body processes alcohol is affected by many different factors,” he said. “Even if you're not obviously drunk, you can still be over the legal limit and your driving can be impaired.

“If you’re going out for a drink, do the right thing and arrange for a designated driver, taxi or take public transport to avoid earning more consequences than just a hangover. The message is simple – if you are going to drive then don’t drink and if you are going to drink then don’t drive.”


Man holding car key and alcoholic beverage