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Together, we have made great progress to reduce drink driving. Over 30 years education, publicity campaigns and police enforcement have contributed to a reduction in fatalities of 85% from 1,650 in 1979 (when detailed reporting began) to 240 in 2013. But that’s still 240 too many and so it is vital that drink drive messages continue to be heard and that social unacceptability is reinforced.
Our research shows that half of drivers (51%) would not consider consuming any drinks before getting in the car. However, a significant minority of drivers are still prepared to have ‘a couple’ of drinks before driving. One in 10 people would consider having 2 or more drinks before they get behind the wheel. This increases to 1 in 5 among men aged 18 to 34. Our recent campaign targets males aged 17 to 34 with this mindset.
Our research shows that although our target audience widely see drink driving as unacceptable, they do not see their own behaviour as drink driving. They’re vague about what the legal limit is, and how it’s measured. Because of this they set their own perceived safe limit, often 2 drinks. They often justify having 2 drinks, or stretching this further, due to circumstances on the night such as having drinks bought for them and whether they feel safe to drive. We want to shake our audience’s confidence in their ability to drive after a second drink. This continues our strategy of pinpointing the moment of decision to have a second drink, following the Crash (2004) and Moment of Doubt (2007) campaigns.
- you don’t have to feel drunk to be a drink driver
- a second drink could double your chances of being in a fatal collision — THINK!
We ran a paid-media campaign from 1 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 in England and Wales. The campaign used channels that reach a wide audience such as TV and online advertising. This was complemented by channels that reach the target audience while they’re planning their night out, on a night out, or drinking at home such as social media advertising and posters in pubs.
Advice for drivers
Our campaign messages are specific to our target audience who drink ‘a couple’ of drinks before driving.
Our advice to a wider audience of ‘all adult drivers’ remains:
- any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive
- it is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit — it depends on weight, age, sex, metabolism and of course, what you are drinking
- the safest thing to do, is to not drink any alcohol before driving
- if you drink drive, you risk a hefty fine, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record
- this doesn’t reflect the everyday consequences of being caught drink driving which can include; job loss, trouble getting into other countries, shame and loss of independence
We welcome support in getting our messages out to drivers. Campaign resources such as posters and leaflets can be ordered free of charge from the THINK! online shop.
- THINK! Drink drive campaign web page including latest adverts and advice
- THINK! Drink drive campaign materials download page
- THINK! Online shop for printed materials
- THINK! drink driving research
- Drink drive: 30 years of communication (2012 IPA paper)
- Road Safety Observatory drink drive research
- Department for Transport information on North Review