New poll reveals low awareness of safe ride home programmes among US drivers

A new Road Safety Monitor (RSM) poll conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF USA) has revealed low-awareness of safe ride home programmes among drivers in the US.

The poll showed that a large proportion of drivers do not use safe ride home programmes even when they are available.

As part of the public opinion poll, which was based on a sample of 5,009 drivers aged 21 years and older, the US driver opinions and behaviours were investigated in relation to impaired driving.

"Fatality data from 2015 showed that 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, which is a 3.2% from 2014."

In order to obtain insight into variations across the country, results were evaluated in accordance with the ten regions of the country that were identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The online poll was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and was conducted in partnership with TIRF in Canada.

TIRF USA research director Tara Casanova Powell said: "According to NHTSA, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater) accounted for 30% of total motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2014, corresponding to 9,943 lives lost.

"Fatality data from 2015 showed that 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, which is a 3.2% from 2014.”

The survey also revealed that safe ride home programmes and public transportation were not consistently available across the US and a proportion of drivers on look out for these options were not aware of whether these programmes were available in their area.

The results indicate that awareness of the programmes may be low, and more work is required to increase driver awareness of these options. They also showed that most US drivers were concerned about the consequences of impaired driving.

TIRF Canada chief operating officer Dr Ward Vanlaar said: "Ride-sharing can be a useful tool to reduce impaired driving.

"Additional research to explore effective strategies to deliver these programmes, and promote their availability to drivers at critical moments can help ensure they are more frequently used and reduce crashes."