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FORD CALLS TIME ON DRINK DRIVING
BRENTWOOD, Essex, December 1, 2005
As drinkers toast Britain's move to 24-hour licensing, Ford has
issued a strong anti-drink drive message after researching the
consequences of getting behind the wheel when over the limit.
Ford's volunteer drink driver consumed
alcohol under test conditions until his levels were one and a
half times the legal limit. He found confidence soared when
driving on the secure track just as his accuracy and
Ford staged the experiment at its European
proving ground at Lommel, Belgium, where six driving control
tests were attempted every two hours during a day of continuous
drinking. Twelve units of alcohol glasses of wine
were consumed in total during a six-hour period. The driving
tests, using the latest Ford Focus C-MAX, were:
- Emergency stop (at 50mph)
- Slalom around 10 cones placed 20
metres apart (at 30mph)
- Circular fixed course of 100-metre
radius (three laps at 60mph)
- Continuous steering round B-shaped
course (two laps at 10mph)
- Reversing for 40 metres between foam
blocks placed car's width plus 15cm apart (10mph)
- Reversing round a corner into parking
space of car's width and length plus 15cm (10 mph)
- Static test of reflexes and
coordination using apparatus providing visual and aural
The Ford Focus C-MAX test car carried
equipment measuring stopping distance and steering precision with
Global Positioning System (GPS) recording any deviation from the
"The time lag between consumption and
feeling the alcohol's effects felt quite long," said 'drink
driver' Oliver Rowe, of Ford of Britain's press office, whose
alcohol breath reading reached 50. Britain's legal limit to drive
is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
"If I had judged whether I was under
the limit during these first couple of hours, I would have said
yes. In reality reaction times were deteriorating fast, reflected
by my performances on the track. My growing confidence and
'raring to go' attitude when under the influence produced more
aggression. This resulted in exaggerated steering, especially on
the slalom, and great difficulty in maintaining the set speeds."
Ford's drink drive exercise was staged as
November's round-the-clock licensing laws came into force and as
police forces prepare to launch their own Christmas campaigns to
send a stern anti-drink drive message to party goers.
There is renewed concern about drink
driving in Britain as, after two decades of decline, statistics
show alcohol-related deaths and injuries on the UK's roads to be
rising. Last year fatality figures were the highest since 1992,
with a total of 590 deaths (Institute of Alcohol Studies, Sept
2005). Today one in five road deaths are alcohol related.
Kevin Delaney, head of road safety at RAC
Foundation said: "The RAC Foundation for Motoring welcomes
this comprehensive and practical test which clearly demonstrates
the dangers of drinking and driving. Alcohol, even in quite small
amounts, adversely affects driver performance, hazard perception,
co-ordination and our ability to anticipate and respond to
emergencies, while at the same time increasing confidence and
reducing inhibitions a dangerous combination.
The simple message about drinking and
driving is dont, and dont drive the morning after a
party when your alcohol level may still be above the legal limit."