By Claire West

Worrying new research by leading car insurance expert, Admiral suggests that too many motorists may think drink driving is acceptable, with almost a fifth of drivers admitting they have driven a car when over the drink driving limit.

Admiral commissioned YouGov to survey 3,120 drivers* for its Admiral Survey of UK Motorists and found that 19% have driven a car while over the drink drive limit. Men are more likely than women to admit they have driven over the limit, with 27% of men saying they have done so compared with 10% of women.

The different attitude towards drinking and driving between men and women continues when looking at how many units motorists are happy to consume before getting behind the wheel. Although overall two fifths (40%) of those questioned said they would only consider themselves safe to drive after drinking no units of alcohol at all, 11% of men would consume more than 3 units and consider themselves safe to drive compared to just 1% of women.

Admiral managing director, Sue Longthorn, commented, “With summer in full swing and a bank holiday later this month, the temptation to drive after a few drinks in a beer garden or at a barbecue may be too much for some people. But, it’s vital that people are aware of how much alcohol they are consuming when they are due to drive, and remember that drink driving is not acceptable in any shape or form and it’s never worth the risk.”

“The difference between men and women in our research is a worry, as it appears the anti-drink driving message is getting through to women, but not so effectively with men. The amount of alcohol in someone’s blood is the same, regardless of their gender.”

Another area where people need to be aware of their alcohol consumption is the morning after. Admiral’s research showed that almost three in ten (29%) have driven the morning after drinking heavily and suspected they were still over the drink driving limit. This number is again highest in men, with over a third (36%) admitting to this compared to 22% of women. Just over one in seven (15%) motorists don’t take what they’re drinking into consideration when they know they have to drive the next morning.

“With all-day barbecues, longer evenings and fine weather, the time people spend drinking can tends to increase in the summer. If people have to drive in the morning, they must know when to stop the night before. You may feel fine the next day, but have to remember that it takes time for the alcohol to leave your system, so you could still be over the limit.”

When questioned on how much people can drink and still drive, over a third (37%) of the respondents to Admiral’s survey said they think the current drink driving limit should stay the same, but almost half (48%) think it should be lower than it is now.

And some motorists seem to be happy to put themselves at risk, with a quarter (25%) admitting they have knowingly got into a car being driven by someone they suspected was over the drink-driving limit.