Washington drivers know their limits before getting behind the wheel



​​​SEATTLE – Recent studies have likened the risks of text-messaging behind the wheel to the dangers of drinking and driving.  While texting has become the new driving taboo, the latest PEMCO poll shows that Washington drivers haven’t forgotten about the risks of driving under the influence.  Drivers in Washington know their limit of alcohol consumption before it becomes unsafe to drive, according to PEMCO’s poll.

PEMCO’s results indicate that respondents believe that a female weighing 130 pounds can consume approximately two alcoholic beverages over three hours before she reaches the national legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08 percent. Similarly, for men, respondents believe that a male weighing 175 pounds can consume 2.5 drinks over three hours before he hits the legal limit. 

PEMCO asked respondents how many alcoholic beverages they personally could consume before it became unsafe to drive.  On average, women who drink alcohol take a more conservative approach and estimate they can safely consume 1.8 drinks before driving, while men project they can handle up to 2.7 drinks before their driving is impaired. 

“People are taught that drinking and driving don’t mix,” said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg.  “Our poll shows Washington drivers generally understand that. They need to remember that alcohol affects everyone differently, so regardless of how many drinks you’ve had, if there’s any doubt, don’t get behind the wheel.”

The poll showed that drivers are planning ahead if they intend to drink. Only one in 10 respondents reported they had driven after drinking too much within the past year.  Those polled said that on average, more than twice in the past year, they arranged for a designated driver or planned to take a taxi if they knew they would be drinking.

“National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stats show that highways are getting safer, and we’re seeing fewer deaths caused by drunk drivers,” Osterberg said. 

If you know you’ll drink alcohol, PEMCO urges drivers to:

  • Appoint a designated driver beforehand
  • Arrange to take a taxi or some form of public transportation after drinking
  • Call a friend or family member if it’s unsafe for you to drive
  • Plan to stay overnight so you won’t need to drive.

To learn more about PEMCO’s poll and to view a summary of the results, visit poll.pemco.com.  Visitors to the site can take an informal version of the poll to see how their own responses compare with those collected by FBK Research of Seattle in late November. 

About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Insurance commissioned this independent survey that asked Washington drivers several questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 604 respondents, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. In other words, if this study was conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than +/- 4.1 percent.


About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life, and umbrella insurance to Washington state residents.  PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the state and through PEMCO offices.  For more information, visit www.pemco.com.