Brake urges drivers: save lives by pledging ‘not a drop’ during World Cup

With just one day left until the Rugby World Cup kicks off, Brake is urging drivers watching the matches to keep safety in mind and plan before you party, to help keep yourself and others safe.

Brake is calling on drivers to pledge not to drink any amount of alcohol if they're driving, because even small amounts affect reaction times and coordination. In 2013, driver alcohol/drugs was a factor in over 1,200 crashes, resulting in 78 deaths, 440 serious injuries and over 1,000 minor injuries[1].

As fans head to friends' houses, or out to bars and clubs to watch matches, the charity is advising everyone to plan before heading out, and if they're drinking, to make sure they have safe, alternative travel arrangements. This could involve having a designated sober driver, walking if there is a safe route, or using public transport or taxis.

Drivers are also reminded that fatigue could be an issue if it is unusual for them to be awake during the early hours of the morning. Fatigue was a factor in crashes resulting in 33 deaths, 153 serious injuries and 600 minor injuries in 2013 [2].

Caroline Perry, Brake's New Zealand director said: "We want everyone to be able to enjoy watching the World Cup and get home or to work safely afterwards, so we're reminding drivers that even small amounts of alcohol affect your driving and urging you to pledge not to drink any amount of alcohol if you have to drive. If you're drinking, arrange an alternative, safe way to travel. Fatigue is also a risk if you're staying up late or getting up early, so watch out for warning symptoms, and follow our advice to help keep yourself and others safe. Crashes have devastating consequences and we don't want to see someone's World Cup fun end in tragedy."

Quick reference advice: drink driving

  • If you're driving, pledge not to drink any amount of alcohol.
  • If you're drinking, plan ahead so you have a safe way to get home afterwards.
  • Make sure you've completely got rid of any alcohol in your system before driving - many drink drivers are caught the next day, after a night out drinking.
  • Speak out to friends and family who are going to drink-drive and stop them from doing so.

Quick reference facts: drink driving

  • Drivers with 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 [3].
  • Drivers with a BAC of 10mg/100ml, well below the NZ limit, are 46% more likely to be at-fault in a crash than sober drivers [4].
  • Alcohol is a depressant and even small amounts (such as a standard bottle of beer) affect your reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. It also makes you drowsy and affects your vision and how you judge speed and distance [5].

Quick reference advice: driver fatigue

  • Plan ahead - consider whether you need to drive.
  • Winding down the window or turning up the music doesn't help you to stay awake.
  • If you're feeling tired at the wheel, listen to the warning signs and pull over somewhere safe as soon as you can.
  • Have a caffeinated drink (energy drinks are better than coffee) followed by a 15 minute nap. This helps to temporarily keep away tiredness, but it is only a temporary measure.
  • If you still feel tired, you need to stop and get a proper night's rest, it's the only solution to tiredness.
  • Whatever you do, only continue your journey when you feel fully refreshed.

Quick reference facts: driver fatigue

  • The most common times for drivers with normal sleep patterns to fall asleep at the wheel are early morning (2am-6am) and early afternoon (2pm-4pm). These times are when the body clock reaches a natural dip, making you sleepy and less able to concentrate [5].
  • The warning signs of falling asleep include: increased difficulty concentrating; yawning; heavy eyelids; eyes starting to 'roll' and neck muscles relaxing, making the head droop.

End notes:
[1] Alcohol and drugs: crash facts, Ministry of Transport, 2014
[2] Fatigue, Ministry of Transport, 2014
[3] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[4] Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content, British Medical Journal, 2014
[5] How much alcohol can I drink before driving? NHS Choices, 2013
[6] Advanced Driver Fatigue Research, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2007

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