Drinkaware has launched its annual public awareness Christmas campaign, ‘Had Enough’, in response to recent research showing drink driving incidents and road fatalities are on the increase. The Road Safety Authority fatal collisions report, launched in June 2016, highlighted alcohol as a major contributory factor in 38% of all fatal collisions during the period 2008-2012. Of all collisions in this time, alcohol was the main contributory factor in 2 in 5 collisions, resulting in the deaths of 286 people, and serious, life changing injuries were inflicted on a further 69 people. It also highlighted that 87% of all drink driving fatalities were caused by men.

According to independent research commissioned by Drinkaware, people need more information around exactly how their driving is impacted by alcohol consumption. This research found people also do not understand the risks associated with drink and driving. There were also clear contrasts in attitudes and behaviours between the younger and older age groups: but the two groups considered it acceptable to drink and drive within the alcohol limits. Drinkaware aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with drink driving in order to bridge this knowledge gap, especially among younger males.

Yvonne Rossiter, CEO (Interim) of Drinkaware, said:

Research shows that drinking and driving in Ireland has not disappeared, in fact, surprisingly it has increased among younger people – young men in particular. The 2016 Healthy Ireland Survey highlighted that 37% of drinkers in Ireland binge drink and are then more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as antisocial behaviour, drink driving and self-harm. Any amount of alcohol consumed will affect your ability to drive safely and impact your response time. You can’t argue with the facts. Drink driving – at any limit – is unacceptable. Our campaign encourages people to understand that where driving is concerned, one drink is too many.

Drinkaware research found that younger drivers expect drink driving to be more prevalent among older age groups as they are less informed and have acquired habitual behaviour around drink driving. Older drivers expect younger people to NOT drink and drive at all.

This year’s Healthy Ireland Survey revealed the need for education among young people around drinking in general, and found that ‘awareness of some of the most significant risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption is lowest among those young people who binge drink the most’.

Drinkaware’s ‘Had Enough’ campaign will be launched today on national, regional and local radio, digital and print media. Drinkaware is delighted to have received fantastic and generous support from Newsbrands, representing all national newspapers, the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI), representing Ireland’s independent commercial radio broadcasters and from the TV3 Group and SKY Group.

Ms Rossiter concluded:

Similar to speeding, the drink driving limit is not a target. Ultimately, if you drink and drive you may be responsible for someone’s death, your own death or a serious injury and the lifelong guilt that comes with it. In particular, around Christmas, taxis can be harder to come by and the temptation to have ‘a couple’ and drive home is greater – however, we encourage people to plan in advance how they are getting home and never to rely on their car if they plan to drink. Similarly, never get into a car with someone who has been drinking, even if it someone you trust. Any amount of alcohol impairs your judgement and the risks are simply too great. We as a society have to stand up to those who continue to drink drive and show we have ‘Had Enough’ of this behaviour on our roads.