RESEARCH REVEALS 1 IN 5 PASSENGERS DRIVEN BY DRUG DRIVERS
Research commissioned by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) among 17 to 34 year olds into the use of illegal drugs while driving has highlighted alarming behaviour with as many as 1 in 5 people (22%) admitting they were a passenger in a car driven by someone under the influence of drugs. The publication of the research comes as the RSA broadcasts a new anti-drug driving TV and Cinema campaign today, Friday 30th July, 2010.
The ‘Ask Chilli’ online survey was conducted among 1,000 people aged 17 to 34 years old into the use of recreational drugs while driving and revealed that 1 in 20 (6%) drivers have driven under the influence of recreational drugs in the past.
Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive, RSA said: “This research is extremely worrying, particularly when we see the numbers of people who willingly travelled in a car being driven by someone under the influence of drugs. Typically drug-drivers think they are better drivers while under the influence of some drugs. They also think there is a lower risk of collision compared with drink driving, overestimate their ability to compensate for impairment and demonstrate little knowledge of the effects of driving under the influence of drugs.”
Mr. Brett added: “Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as driving when under the influence of alcohol. It’s also against the law. Drugs can affect your mind and body in a variety of ways that mean you are not able to drive safely. Not only that, the effects can last for hours or even days. You wouldn’t drive or get into a car with some who has been drinking alcohol so why would you drive or be driven by someone who has taken drugs?”
While urging road users to take extra care when using the roads over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, the Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey, T.D. said: “Driving under the influence of drugs is an area of increasing concern among international road traffic agencies due to the increased presence of these substances in those involved in road traffic collisions (RTCs). This problem can be tackled by generating a greater understanding in the general population of the impairing effects of drugs on driving. The Road Traffic Bill 2009, which has just been passed into law will also give power to An Garda Síochána to carry out Preliminary Impairment Tests to assist in determining whether a driver is under the influence of an intoxicant, including drugs.”
The survey also found that:
Almost half (45%) of the total sample have used recreational drugs in the past
13% of the total sample have used recreational drugs in the past 2 months
79% of respondents viewed driving under the influence of drugs as ‘very unacceptable’ compared to 85% who viewed driving under the influence of alcohol as ‘very unacceptable’
· 50% of those who admitted they have driven under influence of recreational drugs were fined for other traffic offences before
When asked to indicate the level of risk associated with using specific drugs and driving, the following substances were rated as ‘Extremely Dangerous’:
– Ecstasy – 79%
– Alcohol – 76%
– Cocaine – 73%
– Cannabis/ Marijuana – 46%
The use of ecstasy while driving was viewed as ‘extremely dangerous’ by 8 out of 10 respondents – while 46% view Cannabis / Marijuana as ‘extremely dangerous’. Those who have used recreational drugs before were more likely to perceive driving while under the influence of drugs as less dangerous than those who have never used drugs.
To raise awareness of the serious risk that drug driving poses to road safety, the RSA will broadcast a new public service anti-drug driving TV and Cinema campaign from today, Friday 30th July 2010. The Campaign includes a new 60 second TV advert called ‘Cell’, which has been acquired from Victoria in Australia and adapted for use here in the Republic of Ireland. This advert depicts the tragic consequences of a driver’s decision to take drugs and then drive after leaving a nightclub. A second advert entitled ‘Dead Girl Talking’ has been adapted from the UK and will be aired on TV and in cinemas. This 50 second advert shows a young woman describe how she and her friends were involved in a collision after taking drugs, the consequences of that decision were fatal, something which is revealed in a dramatic twist at the end of the advert.
For more information on the RSA’s drug driving campaign, results of the attitudinal survey and drug driving in general, visit www.rsa.ie.