Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Sociology, Social topics, Environmental sciences (social aspects

Publication Details

This project was undertaken by Martha Smithers as part of the Cars project in collaboration with the Garda Road Safety Unit. The project was supervised by Victor Hrymark as part of the Msc in Environmental Health.


The purpose of this study is to gauge the attitude, behaviour and knowledge of students in the age group of 18 to 30 in relation to drinking and driving. The student population was focused on as they are a high risk group on Irish roads. The topic of drink driving was brought to the forefront in Ireland with the introduction of the 2010 Road Traffic Act. This introduced the reduction in the legal BAC limit from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml for normal drivers and 20mg/100ml for specified drivers to come in line with the rest of Europe. The RSA are aiming to reduce the number of road deaths in Ireland by 30% and published the road safety strategy plan with a model for change identifying the areas of education and enforcement to aid in changing the attitudes of behaviours of Irish road users. These areas where focused on among the student population to gauge their knowledge of drink driving their attitude and behaviour towards drink driving and also the impact that enforcement has on them. The methods used in this study was observation of MAT checkpoints, a survey aimed towards students and semi-structured interviews. From the observation made at the MAT checkpoints there was a general attitude of acceptance from road users towards enforcement and indicating that the implementation of the new limits has been effective with a 100% pass rate observed.

In the area of knowledge of the new legal limits the overall majority of students underestimated the new limits with just under half of students knowing the correct limits for specified and normal drivers there is clearly a lack of knowledge in relation to the new legal limits which have been a focus of media campaigns. The results showed that there is an increase from the younger age brackets to the older age brackets of students who have driven under the influence of alcohol .This result indicates the younger age brackets are less likely to drink and drive, if this age group is targeted correctly then the likelihood of them committing the offence in the future will decrease. The main deterrent is the area of drinking and driving is directly regarding the enforcement of law with the personal impact of the fear of penalties and prosecution being the most prominent. Using campaigns directly targeting the student body to educate this demographic to coincide with the enforcement that is currently working will aid in changing the behaviour and attitudes of the students. This will increase their knowledge base and will imbed an anti drink driving frame of mind that will remain with the age group after they have left third level education.