Most aware of dangers of drug driving

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
March 05, 2010, 3:20 AM GMT+0

The dangers of drug driving are widely known, but younger drivers have a more relaxed attitude, a survey in conjunction with Concateno, the global drug testing company, has found.

A substantial proportion (77%) of British over 18s strongly agree that drug driving is as socially unacceptable as drink driving, with only three percent admitting that they did not agree. A similarly small three percent have admitted to driving under the influence of illegal drugs, compared to a much higher 18% having driven under the influence of alcohol. While this figure doubtless points to the wider availability of alcohol, it is also a clear sign that people are aware that drug driving, often forgotten in safe driving awareness campaigns, is as dangerous as drinking before taking the wheel. Roadside drugs testing spokesman for Concateno, Iain Forcer concurs, agreeing that ‘drug driving has been moving up the road safety agenda and is now recognised as a real problem.’

Younger people less aware

Despite such encouraging results, however, it seems that younger people, specifically the 18-24 and 25-34 years age groups, are less stringent when it comes to drug driving. Seven percent of the latter group, in contrast to the national average of three percent, admitted to driving under the influence of drugs. In addition, slightly more of both groups would object to a drugs test than those in other age groups, with 13% of 18-24 year olds and 11% of 25-34s objecting, in contrast to the average of nine percent.

And among the youngest respondents (those aged 18-24), significantly fewer respondents agree with the idea that drug driving is as unacceptable as drink driving – 60% feel this is the case, as opposed to 70% of over 25s and a much higher 86% of over 55s.

Support of roadside testing

Despite the slight dissent among the youngest respondents, though, a clear majority (91%) would support roadside drugs testing, after the example set by breathalyser tests, and would be happy to participate in such a test if asked, strongly backing up the extent to which drug driving is seen as unacceptable.

Forcer explains, ‘This is perhaps a consequence of 40 years of alcohol breath tests, which means that the British public actually have a very mature understanding of how enforcement measures like testing can keep us all safer when we drive.’

For survey details and full results, please click here