28/11/2011 08:54 GMT | Updated 28/11/2011 17:11 GMT

Mild Christmas Weather Could Lead To More Drink Drivers, AA Warns

Possible mild festive weather could lead to a resurgence of the drink-driver this Christmas, the AA has warned.

Severe snow disruption during the past two Christmases affected the level of drink-driving.

But even so, 5% of motorists admitted they were driven by someone who was over the drink-drive limit in the last three years, an AA/Populus survey showed.

Launching its Christmas anti drink-drive campaign with drinks company Pernod Ricard, the AA said less severe weather could see a rise from last year's record low drink-drive casualty rate.

The AA said that the bad weather over Christmas 2009 and 2010 had led to the axing of a number of Christmas office parties, while those that did go ahead were attended only by those who could get there on foot. Also, the AA said this festive season would effectively see three years' worth of new motorists encountering their first driving Christmas.

The AA/Populus survey of 18,138 drivers showed that 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds were likely to have been driven by someone over the legal limit in the last three years.

London, with arguably the best public transport links in the UK, had the highest proportion of people given a lift by a drink-driver.

The survey also showed that 25% reckoned they could get pressurised into drinking more alcohol than they wanted to, with work colleagues more likely to lead people astray than friends or family. Younger drivers, though, were more likely to be encouraged by friends to have "one for the road".

AA president Edmund King said: "With driving to Christmas events a thing of the past for many, and a novelty for many newer drivers, we all need to be taking responsibility for each other this Christmas. Employers and party organisers need to make sure there are adequate soft drinks available at events, and should be encouraging partygoers to make arrangements for getting home before they set out.

"Parents need to check how their teenagers are getting around and warn them never to get into a car with a drink-driver. Fellow partygoers must not put pressure on those who are driving. It is frightening that one-and-a-half million people may have got a lift with a drink-driver in the last three years."