Company car drivers ‘twice as likely’ to drink-drive the morning after the night before

One in five company car drivers admits to getting behind the wheel despite thinking they may be over the drink-drive limit the morning after a Christmas party – more than double that of private vehicle owners.

With the festive party season starting in earnest, the survey, conducted as part of the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring, revealed that 20% of company car drivers said they suspected they had driven with alcohol still in their system, putting them over the legal limit. In contrast, just 8% of non-company car owners made the same admission.

The result comes on the day Scotland's new lower drink drive limit comes into force.

The research, which asked motorists about their driving habits over the previous year, also saw one in 20 company car drivers (5%) admit to driving immediately after drinking alcohol that evening. This compares to 3% of private motorists.

Research from the Government’s THINK! drink-driving campaign indicates a significant shift in attitude since the first public information film was aired 50 years ago.

The Department for Transport statistics suggest nine in 10 respondents (91%) agree drink-driving is unacceptable and 92% of people say they would feel ashamed if they were caught drinking and driving.

This compares to more than half of male drivers who admitted drink-driving on a weekly basis in 1979, but the RAC research suggests a significant number of people may unknowingly drive over the legal limit after a Christmas party event.

RAC Business Services director David Aldridge said: “While we have seen a huge, and welcome, shift in attitudes to drink-driving since the 1970s, our research has revealed that a significant number of drivers are still taking unnecessary risks when getting behind the wheel after a night out.

“Many company Christmas parties are held on week nights and we‘re urging managers to remind all their staff about safe alcohol limits as it is easy to think the morning after the night before it will be fine to drive.

“In fact alcohol may well still be present in the driver’s system as it takes an average of one hour for each unit of alcohol to be processed by the body. With a typical large glass of wine (250ml) containing three units, it could mean that alcohol is still in your system when driving to work in the morning.”

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