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In an independent survey conducted by the RACE automobile association of Spain, as part of the European Fatigue Eurobarometer 2019, drivers revealed a worrying picture of the reality of drink driving, with the information revealing that, amongst other statistics, 14% of drivers on the roads of Spain claim to drive regularly under the influence of alcohol, endangering their lives and other road users.

Although the survey results we are focussing on are about Spain in particular, as the survey was part of a European campaign it revealed that drivers from France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy stand out among those who ignore the dangers of alcohol more frequently.

It is also worth noting that Spain has one of the lower limits of maximum permitted alcohol across the continent, far lower than the UK. For example, although the warnings are consistent, that if you do plan to drive, the best option is not to consume any alcohol.

For the data collated in the last full year, 2018, alcohol and/or other substances was found in 43% of drivers who died in road traffic incidents. Despite this figure, and worryingly similar, 44% of drivers on the roads of Spain acknowledge having consumed alcohol and then driving, and 14% admit to doing it as part of their normal routine.

The average figures across Europe shows that of the 15 countries who took part in the survey, 43.6% admit to driving having consumed alcohol, making Spain about average. In France, the figure is much higher, with 54% of respondents admitting to having drunk alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Similarly, the figure is 53% in Austria, 52% in Switzerland and 51% in Italy.

France also tops the ranking of those who do it regularly, with 32.9%, followed by the United Kingdom, where 27.5% of drivers admit to habitually drinking and driving.

The figures not only speak for themselves in revealing a worrying trend, what is also of concern is that many drivers are ignorant of the limits. Moreover, many drivers are more concerned about getting caught having consumed alcohol than the actual danger posed. Across Europe, 62% of drivers surveyed said that they are concerned about getting caught, a figure which is 50% in Spain, rather than acknowledging the risks that their actions pose.

During the summer, there continues to be a heightened presence on the roads, with the use of alcohol or drugs being one of the elements that traffic police are paying particular attention to. However, getting caught having consumed alcohol or drugs is in fact the lesser of evils, as the consequences of being involved in a serious or fatal incident whilst driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is something that many people now have to live with, having been responsible for causing deaths or serious injuries as a result.

The best option, as always, is none for the road.

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