Drinking and driving
A good comparison in the prevalence of drink driving between the EU member states is not possible as the definitions of drink drivers and the research methods applied, differ between EU-member states. It is however possible to compare drivers from various countries on their answers on questions about their drink driving behavior. A survey that was conducted in 2002 was SARTRE3. In each of the 23 European countries that participated in SARTRE3, about 1000 drivers filled in questionnaires. Some of the questions were about their drink driving behavior. What one has to keep in mind when reading the results of SARTRE3 is that it is self-reported behavior. People may forget things and although the SARTRE-questionnaire guaranteed anonymity, very few drivers will admit that they have driven with probably more than the legal limit. For this reason, results on the question regarding drinking over the legal limit in the SARTRE-questionnaire are not mentioned here.
A question in the SARTRE3-questionnaire was: "How many days per week do you drive after drinking even a small amount of alcohol?" In Figure 4 you see in descending order the percentage of drivers in each country saying that they never combine drinking and driving.
Figure 4: The answer "Never/Non drinker" on the question "How many days per week do you drive after drinking even a small amount of alcohol?". Source: SARTRE3
In Cyprus a minority of the drivers say that they have always been completely sober when driving, whereas in Hungary more than 90% says not to have consumed even the smallest amount of alcohol before driving.
Is drinking and driving more popular at certain ages? In Figure 5 one can see the percentage of drivers per age group that has replied "never" or "non drinker" to the question "How many days per week do you drive after drinking even a small amount of alcohol?".
Figure 5: Drivers that say that they never drink and drive or never drink at all by age band. Source: SARTRE3
In most countries the differences between age groups are quite moderate. People tend to think that young drivers combine drinking and driving most often, but Figure 5 shows that for most countries the opposite is the case. There are however exceptions. In Italy, Cyprus, Finland, and Belgium young drivers say that they drink and drive more often than in any other age group.
Do men combine drinking and driving more often than women? Figure 6 shows the percentages of men and women that say that they never drink and drive, be it that they are total abstainers or because they never combine drinking and driving.
Figure 6: Drivers that say that they never drink and drive or never drink at all by gender. Source: SARTRE3
In all countries except in Hungary more women than men don't drink and drive. In Cyprus and Portugal even more than twice as many women than men say that they don't drink and drive.