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Most Young Drivers in Europe Have Driven Drunk or Seen Friends Drink and Drive; Ford ‘Drink Driving Suit’ Shows Risks

  • A new Ford-sponsored survey shows that most young drivers in Europe report either have driven while drunk, or have seen friends drink and drive
  • The survey of 5,000 drivers ages 18 to 24 also reveals one third have accepted a ride from someone under the influence of alcohol; two thirds admit they do not know the legal alcohol limit for driving
  • Ford develops special “Drink Driving Suit” to demonstrate how much more difficult driving becomes after drinking alcohol
  • The Ford “Drink Driving Suit” impairs visibility, co-ordination, and balance, and will be incorporated into Ford Driving Skills for Life – the company’s award-winning young driver training program launched for Europe last year

COLOGNE, Germany, March 18, 2014 – More than half of young drivers in Europe report either driving while drunk or have seen friends drink and drive, according to a new survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company.

The survey of 5,000 drivers aged from 18 to 24 also showed that 32 per cent reported having accepted a ride from a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, and 66 per cent did not know the legal alcohol limit for driving in their country.*

Ford commissioned the poll to better understand the habits and attitudes of young drivers regarding drinking and driving. The survey of drivers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., showed that young men from Spain (74 per cent) were the most likely to have driven while drunk, or seen friends drink and drive, ahead of young men from Germany (65 per cent), and France (64 per cent). Overall 26 per cent of those who admitted they had driven while drunk believed they could still drive safely.

“Drinking and driving is a potentially lethal combination and the results of this survey underline the importance of making young drivers in particular aware of that message,” said Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe.

Ford last year introduced to Europe Ford Driving Skills for Life, the company’s award-winning free young driver training program, and has now developed a “Drink Driving Suit” that impairs visibility, co-ordination and balance.

Consisting of tunnel-vision glasses; ear muffs, wrist and ankle weights; and padding to elbows, neck, and knees; the “Drink Driving Suit” makes even simple tasks – such as walking a straight line – much harder; and demonstrates how much more difficult a more complex activity like driving becomes under the influence of alcohol.

According to the European Commission, 25 per cent of all road fatalities in Europe are alcohol related, and alcohol is a leading contributory factor in fatal road accidents involving young drivers.**

“Ford’s ‘Drink Driving Suit’ is a clever way of enabling people who are sober to safely experience first-hand how significantly their abilities can be affected by alcohol,” Samardzich said. “The suit means we can show people how much more difficult even simple activities become, as well as teaching them about the dangers of drinking and driving.”

Ford developed the “Drink Driving Suit” with scientists from the Meyer-Hentschel Institut in Germany, a company specialising in research into the effects of mobility impairment. Ford has also produced a “Third Age Suit” and a “Pregnancy Suit” to better understand the needs of older drivers and expectant mothers.

“People trying on the ‘Drink Driving Suit’ for the first time soon find that they struggle with everyday tasks they would usually take for granted – such as picking up a cup or dialling a telephone number,” said Gundolf Meyer-Hentschel, company founder and chief executive officer. “It provides a powerful way of reinforcing the serious message of what could happen when driving under the influence of excessive alcohol.”

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* Survey of 5,000 drivers ages 18 to 24 conducted on behalf of Ford Motor Company by TNS Global between Nov 12-20, 2013 across five markets - Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the U.K.

** European Commission (

Download Infographic: Anatomy of a Drink Driving Suit

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 181,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information about Ford and its products worldwide please visit


Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual

markets and employs approximately 47,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately

67,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor

Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing

facilities (13 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and nine unconsolidated joint venture

facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was

founded. European production started in 1911.


Contact: Jude Stupples

              Ford of Europe

              +44 (0) 207 413 3761


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