According to a poll recently conducted by one discount car insurance provider, 20 per cent of passengers in Ireland have caught lifts with drunk drivers over the past two years.
The AA’s motor car insurance division in Ireland, which conducted the 14,000 person strong poll, found that this figure rose even higher among those between the ages of 17 to 24. Meanwhile, 10 per cent of these younger respondents admitting to suspecting the person driving them about had been on drugs at the time.
Policy director for AA Ireland, Conor Faughnan, remarked that while you may not be breaking any laws as a passenger in a car with a suspected drink driver, you have a moral responsibility to not turn a blind eye to such dangerous behaviour. One out of every three fatal accidents on Ireland’s roads involve alcohol, the direct car insurance expert added, and it’s in the best interest of passengers to take steps to safeguard both themselves and other users of the road.
The new research study comes just as the nation is poised to adopt more stringent drink driving limits. The current breath test limit, which is 80mg of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood, is being dropped to 50mg, while professional drivers and learners will be even more tightly policed at only 20mg of alcohol permitted within their bloodstream.
However, the new changes are not without their controversy. Drivers that just barely exceed the new limits will be grated a second chance; instead of facing an automatic ban after being put through the courts, Gardai will be able to use their discretion to impose an on-the-spot fine and three points on a motorist’s licence.
The survey from AA also found that a total of 45 per cent of respondents have gotten behind the wheel the morning after a night out at the pub, even if they were unsure of whether they alcohol in their bloodstream had subsided sufficiently for them to drive legally. In excess of one third also said that they had climbed into a vehicle with a driver that had been suffering from a severe hangover within the past two years.