AA Ireland warns of drink-driving dangers ahead of Christmas

Over 1 in 5 admit to driving the morning after a night out while unsure if their blood alcohol level had returned to within the legally permissible limit.

Leitrim Observer reporter


Leitrim Observer reporter

Concerns raised over 60 per cent rise in drink driving offences across Granard Garda District

Don't drink and drive this festive season.

AA Car Insurance survey finds that over 1 in 10 people have been in a car where they knew or suspected that the driver was over the legal blood alcohol limit within the past 24 months.

Motorists are being warned of the dangers posed by drink driving ahead of the Christmas season, with AA Ireland stating that the effects of alcohol on driving can linger on long after a night out.

A recent AA Car Insurance survey of over 6,000 motorists found that 1 in 5 people have, on at least one occasion in the past year, driving on the morning after a night out while unsure of if they were within the legally permissible blood alcohol limit. 12.45% of those surveyed that they had driven the morning after the night before on one occasion despite being unsure of whether or not they were over the limit, while a further 8.12% admitted to doing this on up to five occasions.

“Over the Christmas season we all deserve and most certainly will be enjoying the time off with friends and family but, where alcohol is concerned, the laws do not change just because it’s the holiday season. If you have been drinking it’s of vital importance that you don’t get behind the wheel of a car until it is safe for you to do so,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs warned. 

“While the majority of us would never think of drinking and driving on the same night, we often forget that alcohol can continue to impact on your concentration, reaction times and driving ability into the following day, depending on how much you have consumed.”

“Everyone wants to have an enjoyable Christmas so for the sake of all road users, whether they drive, walk or cycle, if you have been drinking stay away from your car and do your part to make the roads safer. If you are nursing a hangover stay in, watch a movie, eat chocolate, do whatever it takes to comfort yourself just don’t get behind the wheel”

The AA Car Insurance survey also found that within the past 2 years, over 1 in 10 Irish people have been a passenger in a car where they suspected or knew that the driver was over the legal blood alcohol limit on at least one occasion.

5.19% of respondents stated they had found themselves in such a situation once within the past 24 months, while 4.56% admitted it had happened up to 5 times. Meanwhile, over a fifth of those surveyed admitted they had been a passenger in a car where the driver was severely hungover within the past two years.

“Drink-driving is by no means confined to a specific time of the year, but with so much going on over the Christmas period we do unfortunately see a spike in such behaviour this time of year,” Faughnan added. “Even if you are only a passenger in a car you have a responsibility to ensure the driver behaves legally. For your own safety you shouldn’t get into a car where the driver’s ability may be compromised but for the sake of all road users you should do what you can to ensure they don’t drive any further.”