Wednesday 13 November 2019

One young person in five has travelled with a drunk driver

Grainne Cunningham

ONE young person in five has travelled in a car with a driver they knew to be over the limit, new figures have shown.

And 13pc of the wider population has also done so, suggesting neither the fear nor the stigma of drink driving is felt universally.

An AA motor insurance poll has shown that young men are even more likely to risk their lives by getting into a car when they know the driver is drunk, with 30pc of respondents admitting to having done so in the past year. This compares to 19pc of young women (aged 17-24).

The survey also highlighted the often under-estimated danger of driving with a bad hangover.

A massive 40pc of those polled said they had run the risk of driving a vehicle "the morning after", despite not being sure their blood alcohol level had returned to the legal limit.

And a significantly higher percentage (59pc) of 17 to 24-year olds had taken the same risk.

AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan reminded drivers that "the range of symptoms that arise from a hangover such as headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, thirst, lethargy and a decreased attention span can significantly impair your ability to drive and can make you potentially as dangerous as an intoxicated driver."

Mr Faughnan urged anyone undertaking long drives over the holidays "to avoid a heavy night on the tiles the night before" and to act responsibly if they felt signs of fatigue coming on.


With the holiday season in full flow, the AA has also appealed to partygoers not to take a lift from someone they know, or suspect, to be over the legal limit.

The poll, of close to 15,000 people, identified various levels of risk-taking from county to county with the greatest proportion of people admitting being a passenger with a drunk driver hailing from Wicklow (22pc), Louth (19pc), Kilkenny (17pc), Longford (17pc) and Meath (17pc).

A shocking 82pc of respondents from Roscommon said they had travelled in a car with a driver they believed to be severely hungover, well above the next highest result, from Longford (36pc).

Those living in Monaghan (4pc), Tipperary (6pc), Carlow (9pc), and Cavan (9pc) were least likely to have taken a lift from a drunk driver, while those in Sligo (6pc) and Kerry (11pc) were less likely to have got in the car with someone who was severely hungover.

Overall, young women are less likely to risk driving their car the morning after a heavy night's drinking than young men, the survey showed.

Within the 17 to 24-year-old age category, 51pc of females said they had taken a risk the morning after a night out, while 70pc of young males indicated the same.

And while one in four said they had taken a lift from someone they would have classified as severely hungover within the last 12 months, this figure more than doubled among the 17 to 24-year-old category (56pc), with two of every three young men admitting they had done so.

Irish Independent

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