Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Fewer people prepared to get behind wheel "the morning after"

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

The Northern Ireland Road Safety Monitor 2013 has been published today.

The report reveals that the proportion of drivers who would drive the morning after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol the night before, has fallen over the year from 30% to less than a quarter (23%). It also reports that the majority of people (69%) oppose drivers taking one drink and driving. However, after one drink around one fifth (22%) of drivers would still get behind the wheel. Both of these finding are similar to last year.

There continues to be overwhelming support for imposing the current set of drink drive penalties on those found exceeding newly proposed limits. For learner and restricted drivers exceeding the new lower limit of 20mg/100ml, 82% of respondents supported imposing the current set of penalties. Although the same lower limit is proposed for professional drivers, this attracted a higher level of support for using existing penalties (88%). For all other drivers, a new lower limit of 50mg/100mls is proposed and just less than nine out of every ten respondents (89%) support the use of existing penalties for drivers caught exceeding this.

Alongside this, the vast majority of respondents considered drink driving (88%) and drug driving (84%) to be offences where police should have the power to seize a vehicle. 

Speeding, carelessness on the roads, and drinking and driving are still considered the three main factors in causing injuries or deaths on Northern Ireland’s roads cited by 78%, 61% and 59% of respondents respectively.

The survey also gathered information on the level of awareness and effectiveness of DOE road safety advertising campaigns. Individuals views were sought on a number of road safety topics which included mobile phones, drink driving, school buses, pedestrians and fatigue.

Key Points from the Survey are:

· Respondents perceived the three most important factors in causing injuries or deaths on our roads as people speeding (78%), carelessness on the roads (61%), and people driving after drinking (59%).

· The three principal causation factors recorded in police collision data for the actual number of people killed or seriously injured in Northern Ireland for 2012 were excessive speeding having regard to conditions (12%), inattention or attention diverted (9%) and driver/rider impaired by drugs/alcohol (8%).

· When respondents were asked to list the three most important influences in creating an awareness of road safety, 82% of respondents stated that TV advertising was one of the most important factors. Just over a quarter of respondents rated news and documentaries on TV and Radio (26%), penalties for breaking the law (26%) and a friend or relative involved in a collision or near miss (26%). 

· More respondents (95%) were aware of the ‘Hit Home’ campaign than ‘Just Because’ (73%) and ‘Underneath’ (85%) television campaigns. Across all campaigns the majority of those aware were positively influenced by them.

· Just over three-quarters (77%) of respondents stated that they were aware of at least one radio campaign. In 2012, the awareness levels of the radio road safety campaigns was 81%, which represents a decline of four percentage points over the year and a more significant 10 percentage points from the 87% awareness level recorded in 2011.

· Over four-fifths (81%) of respondents that were aware of a radio advertising campaign stated that it influenced their behaviour in a positive way in relation to road safety.

· Over a third (36%) of motorists report using a mobile phone while driving, (5% hand held, 28% hands free and 3% sometimes hand held or hands free). The majority of those who would use a mobile whilst driving were aware of risks associated with this behaviour.

· On the whole, drinking and driving was opposed by respondents of this survey with nearly seven in ten (69%) stating that it was not acceptable to drive after one drink and the vast majority (95%) stating it was not acceptable to drive after two drinks. 

· Just over a fifth of drivers who drink alcohol (22%) would drive after having one drink and this is similar to the levels reported the last time the question was asked in 2012 (25%).

· Less than a quarter (23%) of drivers who drink alcohol said that they would normally drive the morning after an evening on which they had been drinking four (for women) or five (for men) or more alcoholic drinks, this is lower than the level reported in 2012 (30%).

· A large majority (85%) of all respondents surveyed agreed that the police should be able to stop people at random and breathalyse them for driving under the influence of alcohol which is similar to the response in 2012 (87%).

· Drivers who drink alcohol said the top three penalties which would discourage them from driving if over the legal limit were ‘that you might kill or seriously injure someone else’ (76%), ‘being disqualified for a minimum of 12 months’ (63%) and ‘that you might kill or seriously injure yourself’ (62%).

· Drink driving (88%) and drug driving (84%) were the two most frequently cited circumstances when respondents thought the police should have the power to seize a vehicle. 

· The majority of respondents support imposing the existing penalties for those who exceed the proposed new lower blood alcohol limits. For learner and restricted drivers exceeding the new lower limit of 20mg/100ml, 82% of respondents supported imposing the current set of penalties. Although the same lower limit is proposed for professional drivers, this attracted a higher level of support for using existing penalties (88%). For all other drivers a new lower limit of 50mg/100mls is proposed and just less than nine out of every ten respondents (89%) support the use of existing penalties for drivers caught exceeding this.

· Under half (47%) of motorists stated if driving behind a bus that had stopped to let people on or off, they would usually pass the bus; this proportion was reduced to 33% when considering school children only.

· Almost half (47%) of all respondents stated that they would never wear high visibility items if out for a walk. 

· The majority (95%) agreed or strongly agreed that pedestrians and drivers have shared responsibility to avoid road traffic collisions involving themselves. 

· Over seven in ten (72%) respondents stated that they never cycle; of those that do cycle, nearly half (48%) stated that they never wear a cycle helmet.

· Approaching one quarter of motorists (24%) reported that over the past year there had been occasions when they have felt drowsy when they had been driving, this is similar to the level reported in 2009 (27%). 

· Six in ten (60%) respondents who reported to feeling drowsy while driving stated they wound down the window for cold air, this is similar to that reported in 2009 (56%). 

Notes to editors:

1. The Northern Ireland Road Safety Monitor 2013 is the latest in a research series into behaviour, attitudes, and awareness of key road safety issues in Northern Ireland. It is commissioned by the Department of the Environment and has been carried out since 1995.

2. In 2002, the survey was revised to reflect changing driving habits and to allow new topics to be explored.

3. The ‘Northern Ireland Road Safety Monitor 2013 Report’ presents the findings of the 2013 Road Safety Monitor, which was collected as part of the Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey in May/June 2013 and includes questions on mobile phones, drinking and driving, school buses, pedestrians and fatigue.

4. Respondents’ awareness of the following TV media campaigns was tested: ‘Just Because’ (Pedestrian vulnerability); ‘Underneath’ (motorcyclists) and ‘Hit Home’ (Anti Drink Driving). Radio campaigns tested were ‘A Gift Wish’, ‘Rules of the Road, ‘Be Cycle Aware’, ‘Blind to You’ and ‘Something to Reflect on’.

5. Some comparisons have been made with results from previous Road Safety Monitors. It is not always possible to make comparisons with earlier reports due to changes in the wording of questions and/or changes to answer options. Modules within the Road Safety Monitor change on a regular basis.

6. The sample for the survey consisted of a systematic random sample of addresses selected from the Land and Property Services Agency list of private addresses. This is the most up-to-date listing of private households and is made available to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency for research purposes.

7. The results presented in this report are based on sample survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error. However, any statements in this report regarding differences between groups, such as males and females, are statistically significant at the 5% significance level. This significance level is the criteria for judging whether differences between groups might have arisen by chance.

8. Electronic copies of the 2013 ‘Northern Ireland Road Safety Monitor’ annual report are available at: http://www.doeni.gov.uk/road-safety-monitor-2013-report.pdf

Additional Information

For more information relating to this publication , including additional analysis, breakdowns of data, or alternative formats please contact: 

Analytical Services Branch,
Room 6.10, 
Clarence Court, 
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,
Town Parks
BELFAST, BT2 8GB

Telephone: (028) 9054 0476 
E-mail: asb@doeni.gov.uk
Website: http://www.doeni.gov.uk/index/information/asb/statistics.htm

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