Later drinking reduces crashes and casualties

12.00 | 22 August 2013 | | 3 comments

A new study by researchers from Lancaster University suggests that hundreds of lives have been saved on Britain’s roads as a result of the change in the law which allows pubs to open later into the night (Telegraph).

The study, which covers the period 2002-08, found that on average the number of crashes each month fell by 1,643 after the law was changed in 2005. The drop in accidents among young people aged between 18 and 25 is particularly significant, with a 33% fall recorded on Friday and Saturday nights.

The researchers suggest that one possible explanation is that extended opening hours has reduced binge drinking, with youngsters spreading their alcohol intake out over a longer evening out.

Colin Green, lead author of the research, said: “Our evidence does suggest that later closing hours are associated with decreases in automobile accidents.”

However, the study added: “It could easily be the case that, even if the policy eliminated the simultaneous release of many drunken drivers on to the road, it increases the total consumption of alcohol and so increases the associated costs related to worse health, poorer family relations and greater absenteeism.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Advocates of later opening of pubs have always argued that if you insist on closing at 11pm they will drink more quickly and get more drunk. That could be a plausible explanation. It may be that they are less drunk because they are drinking the same amount over a longer period.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    We agree with Les, re “hours of drinking”…If people are planning to drive they shouldn’t drink any alcohol at all. What this study doesn’t seem to talk about is the rise in collisions and casualties after 2008. The fact that figures from 2011 show collisions and casualties by drink driving rose for first time in 9 years, and the provisional figures from 2012 show increase in drink drive deaths…has longer drinking hours really made a difference?

    Mike, from award winning (London)
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    But surely the proportion of young men who own cars, have licenses or who are even bothering to learn to drive, have all been falling steadily for some years now?

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Why is this “hours of drinking” a discussion point? Surely we should all be advocating no drinking and driving – that would have a bigger impact on reducing road casualties!

    Les Owen Buckinghamshire
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