Report: 1-in-4 risk driving still smashed

27 November 2018

Almost one-quarter (23%) of drinkers believed they were still over the legal limit the next morning and an alarming one-in-four (27%) of those still got behind the wheel, according to the NRMA's Still Smashed? report into drink driving.

Download: Still Smashed?

Still Smashed? includes a new survey of over 1,400 NRMA Members which also found that of drivers under the age of 25, 58 per cent who drank alcohol the night before thought they were still over the legal limit the next morning and of those, more than half (54%) drove.

In 2017, 55 people lost their lives on NSW roads due to an alcohol-related crash – or one-in-seven crashes where someone lost their life. From 2015-17 almost four-in-five (79%) of alcohol-related fatal crashes occurred on country roads.

The NRMA has released Still Smashed? in the midst of the Christmas party season to remind revellers of the risk of drink driving. The NRMA welcomes recent announcements of the recruitment of more police officers. The report calls for 200 dedicated Highway Patrol Officers, especially in regional NSW.

The report found that drivers were taking the risk of getting behind the wheel the next morning because:

  • They had to work or had plans the next morning and needed to drive (67%)
  • There was no other transport available (32%)
  • Organising alternative transport was too inconvenient (21%)

NRMA Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said when an alarming 93 per cent of drink drivers killed on our roads were men and 67 per cent were under the age of 40 it was clear more needed to be done to tackle those demographic groups most at risk.

“NRMA Members rank drink driving as their second biggest road safety fear. It’s been over 40 years since the NRMA launched the state’s first ever education campaign to tackle drink driving and there is still a lot of work to be done to save lives,” Ms Vlahomitros said.

“Last year, NSW Police conducted nearly five million breath tests, so people getting in the car with alcohol in their system over the holiday period are at great risk of getting caught – if they don’t kill themselves or others first.”

The report also calls for:

  • A trial of alco-gate technology to prevent people driving from venues over the limit
  • Ensure major regional events include alternative transport options to stop people drink driving
  • Look for innovative ways to fund public and on-demand transport in regional areas
  • Encourage businesses to voluntarily install alcohol interlocks into their fleet vehicles.