Czechs drivers among the least likely to drink and drive over the holidays

Strict laws have led to a decrease in accidents, but over a quarter of drivers still say drunken driving is a main concern.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 20.12.2021 13:13:00 (updated on 20.12.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Along with the holidays comes holiday travel. Czechs are among the people spending the most time traveling by car during the Christmas holidays. On top of that, some 14 percent of men admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a survey by British dashcam company Nextbase. While the number of drunken drivers is low compared to other countries, it is still a cause of concern for many drivers on the road.

According to the Nextbase survey, almost one in four Czech respondents said they spend more than eight hours on the road during Christmas, the most of any nationality surveyed. On the other hand, people in the Netherlands spend the least time behind the wheel at Christmas, with only 11 percent of respondents claiming to spend more than eight hours in the car.

In addition to the Czech Republic, the survey was conducted in Germany, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The survey was conducted this year at the turn of November and December. In the Czech Republic, 1,014 respondents took part.

For 63 percent of Czech respondents, the biggest problem is variable road conditions, such as slippery roads and snow. Men, at 64 percent, were slightly more concerned than women, at 62 percent. Fog is the biggest problem for 27 percent of respondents, while for 8 percent of drivers the biggest complication in winter is the early sunset and the associated poor visibility. The sun sets in the Czech Republic at about 4 pm in the winter. Similar results were found in other countries where the survey was conducted.

Regarding the behavior of other drivers, 51 percent of Czech respondents said the biggest threat is drivers who do not adapt their driving to the current weather and road conditions. This is followed by concerns about drunken drivers, which 26 percent saw as the biggest threat. Heavy traffic was cited by 9 percent, and tired drivers and poorly maintained vehicles, by 5 percent each.

The Czech Republic has a zero-level tolerance for alcohol or drugs while driving, and penalties can be severe. Police patrols are usually stepped up on roads during the holidays. As a result, the number of people driving under the influence during the holidays is low compared to some other countries.

Just 8 percent of respondents in the Czech Republic admitted to driving under the influence during Christmas, with men more like to drink and drive, at 14 percent, while women were at 4 percent.

France had the highest amount of drinkers behind the wheel, while the United States had 24 percent. On the other hand, drivers in Poland and the United Kingdom were tied with the Czech Republic at 8 percent.

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According to road safety group Besip, in 2020, some 50 people were killed, 173 seriously injured, and 1,852 slightly injured in road accidents in the Czech Republic as a result of alcohol, including the combination of alcohol and other addictive substances. Excessive speed was the cause of death in 59 percent of these cases. The number of these accidents gradually decreased between 2011 and 2017, but in 2018 it increased again and since then it has decreased only slightly.

New Year’s Eve on 2020–21 was an exception due to the Covid curfew reducing traffic at night, but usually one of the first accidents recorded for the new year involves drinking and driving.

Both Besip and the Czech Police offer tips for safe driving. They agree that if you plan to drive it is better not to drink at all than to drink and attempt to drive after your sober up.  

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