Direct Line Car Insurance research: A third of adults have got in a car with a drink driver

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• Over one in three have acted as a 'lookout' for a drink driver • Over one in ten have taken away the ignition keys and got home another way

Research* from Direct Line Car Insurance has revealed that 34 per cent of UK adults (17 million**) have got into a car with someone they suspected was over the drink drive limit.

However, even though suspecting the driver was over the limit, 65 per cent stayed in the vehicle. A third (31 per cent) stayed in the car and did nothing, whilst 34 per cent were not only willing to be a passenger but even assisted the driver by acting as a 'look out', watching for other vehicles, police and speed cameras.

Only 12 percent of adults who suspected a driver of being over the legal alcohol limit took the keys from them and made them get public transport or a taxi home. A further 10 per cent drove the car themselves as they had not been drinking.

Maggie Game, Head of Direct Line Car insurance said: "There is no excuse for drink driving and people's willingness to get in the car with a drunk driver is alarming. By condoning this behaviour they are risking not only their own lives but those of other road users. If you know someone who plans to drink and drive, stop them, persuade them not to drive, even take their keys off them, but before volunteering to drive their car make sure you are insured, because if you're not you will find yourself breaking the law."

Katie Shephard, spokesperson for Brake says, "Direct Line's survey results show some drivers have an alarmingly irresponsible attitude to drink driving. Over 50 people are killed or seriously injured by drink drivers every week. Rather than acting as a look-out to help irresponsible drink drivers avoid detection, we all need people to stand up for public safety. If you know someone has been drinking, make sure they don't get behind a wheel and endanger innocent lives, including your own. Brake's message is simple, don't drive if you've been drinking, not even a drop."

The attitudes of passengers to getting in the car changed dramatically with their age. The most willing group to act as a 'look out' is 18 - 34 year olds with 40 percent admitting to being an extra pair of eyes for a drink driver. Those most likely to get in the car and do nothing are the over 55 age group with 37 percent admitting to having done this previously.


Notes to editors

*Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2,359 British adults on behalf of Direct Line from Thursday 5th February to Monday 9th February 2009.

**34 per cent of Britain's approximately fifty million adults = 17,000,000 people Population figures: Office of National Statistics:
Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line is part of RBS Insurance, the second largest general insurer in the UK and is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting

Direct Line Insurance plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: 3 Edridge Road, Croydon, Surrey CR9 1AG. Registered in England and Wales no. 01810801. The Financial Services Authority's Register can be accessed through


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