Two thirds of UK drivers would be devastated if they lost their car according to figures published today as road mafety minister Stephen Hammond launched a new THINK! drink-drive campaign to raise awareness of the consequences of a conviction.
The survey, commissioned by the AA and conducted by Populus, also shows that:
• 31% of motorists are at their happiest behind the wheel.
• 32% say they rely on their car to maintain friendships.
• Without a car 76% of 18-24 year olds would find it difficult to see friends and do the things they love - 88% would be devastated if they could not drive.
• 16% rate having a car as the best thing in their lives with the figure rising to 27% among 18-24 year olds.
The latest campaign will see radio adverts, pub posters and an eye-catching short online film drilling the message home that motorists face heavy costs if they drink and drive.
Hammond said: “Drink driving is a menace and drivers should be clear that if you get behind the wheel over the limit this summer, you will lose your licence, get a criminal record, and face a fine - you could even end up in jail.
“The findings of this poll are clear; drivers love their cars and a drink driving conviction would not only leave a massive hole in their pockets, it would leave a massive hole in their lives.
“Nobody wants to spend their summer in a prison cell so whether you are drinking in the pub or at a friend’s barbeque, make sure you do not drink and drive - it could have devastating consequences for you and for others.”
The £740,000 campaign is being launched alongside plans by the Association of Chief Police Officers to carry out extra checks on motorists over the summer.
ACPO lead for roads policing, chief constable Suzette Davenport, said: “Police take this offence very seriously and experience shows us that courts take a very dim view of anyone who is caught.
“It is appalling that in 2013 we still have to remind people not to drink or take drugs and drive. To combat this we will be stopping and testing thousands more drivers throughout the month of June.
“For causing death while driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drivers could face 14 years’ imprisonment.
“These deaths are avoidable if drivers simply make the decision not to drink or take drugs and drive, or make alternative arrangements to get home from summer time events.”
Edmund King, AA president said: “AA/Populus research shows that one third of drivers are happiest behind the wheel of a car, while one third rely on their car to maintain their relationships. It’s not just freedom of the road drivers lose by drink-driving – it’s freedom, full-stop.
“Even if drink driving doesn’t end in a crash, it is likely to lead to a separation from the car for at least 12 months if caught. If you are going to drive, don’t drink and if you are going to drink, don’t drive.”
The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculated that the cost of a conviction could be up to £50,000 - this is based on someone losing their job for as a result of their conviction, receiving the maximum fine, the average cost of legal fees and increased insurance premiums.