Driver attitudes to drink driving research: Brake reaction

Road safety charity Brake says the results of research released by DB Breweries into the attitudes of drivers towards alcohol and driving are extremely concerning.

Caroline Perry, NZ director, Brake the road safety charity says: "Getting behind the wheel after drinking is extremely risky, so this research around people's attitudes is very concerning. Research shows that even a small amount of alcohol impairs your driving, affecting your coordination and slowing your reactions. Even if you feel okay after a drink, the reality is that if you get behind the wheel you're putting yourself and others in needless danger. The only safe amount of alcohol to consume if you're driving is none.

"We need to ensure Police are resourced to operate more checkpoints and random roadside testing. This not only helps to get drink-drivers off the road, but can also deter people from drink driving, as they perceive there is a high chance they will be caught."

Facts
Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [1]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination [2]. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they're not [3].

Brake's key messages on drink driving:

  • Never drink any amount of alcohol if you're driving
  • Avoid drinking at night if you're driving early the next morning
  • Plan ahead and make sure you can get home safely by using public transport, booking a taxi/rideshare, or having a sober driver who sticks to soft drinks. Don't accept a lift from someone who's been drinking.
  • Take responsibility for others: never buy a drink for someone who is driving, speak out to friends who plan to drink and drive, and if you're hosting a party help your guests to plan a safe way home before the party starts.

[1] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

[2] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

[3] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

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