Irish at odds with views on drink-driving dangers

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More Irish people regard drink-driving as a minor road safety issue than citizens in every other EU member state, a new study has found.

The Eurobarometer survey of over 25,000 people from across the EU shows that 8 in 10 respondents in all member states, except Ireland, believe drink-driving is a major road safety problem in their country.

Just 62 per cent of Irish respondents said they saw it as a major threat to road safety, while 31 per cent regard it as a minor issue. In addition, one in 20 of those surveyed in Ireland said they felt driving after having consumed alcohol was not a problem at all.

The report’s authors suggested the difference in opinion between Irish respondents and their European counterparts could be due to a belief that drink-driving does not constitute problem behaviour or because stricter laws have led people to perceive that the issue is no longer as serious as it once was.

The survey also indicates that Irish drivers are less concerned about seatbelt use than citizens in other countries.

Less than half of Irish survey respondents said driving without a seatbelt was a major safety threat, while 36 per cent saw it as a minor problem. About one in seven drivers did not believe it was an issue at all.

Exceeding speed limits was considered the number one road safety concern, with 78 per cent of respondents saying this was a major problem in Ireland.

Talking on a mobile phone was also ranked as a major threat to road safety, with 76.5 per cent of Irish drivers considering it to be an issue.

There was less concern about individuals talking on a hands-free mobile phone, with just 30 per cent of correspondents agreeing it was a major road safety problem.

Source: The Irish Times, 21/07/10
Journalist: Charlie Taylor