As we move into the festive season, the Department of Transport’s Think! campaign has shifted its attention to preventing drink driving on the UK’s roads. While driving under the influence is dangerous at all times of the year, in the run-up to Christmas, when work parties take place and people feel more inclined to have a drink, the associated risks are even greater.
The THINK! campaign aims to educate all drivers about the risks associated with drink driving, but its focus will be young men who account for nearly two-thirds of drink driving deaths.
Shockingly, having a second drink doubles the chance of a fatal collision. Department of Transport research found that a fifth of young males admit to getting behind the wheel after having 2 or more drinks. The study also revealed that an additional 11% have considered having a second drink.
The campaign will target these drivers through hard-hitting adverts on social media and Spotify. The adverts will play on the concept of FOMO (the fear of missing out) and with the aim to make it clear to young men that having a second drink before driving is not worth the risk of missing out on the rest of their lives. One of the campaign videos can be viewed below.
THINK! has also partnered with a number of companies to offer drivers solutions to avoid drink driving. For instance, Coca-Cola has teamed up with 8,000 pubs across the country to offer two-for-one soft drinks for drivers.
At the launch of the campaign, Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones commented on the devastating effects of drink driving:
“Drink driving destroys families and ruins lives, yet some reckless drivers continue to take the risk and get behind the wheel after drinking – particularly young men who account for almost two-thirds of drink drivers killed on our roads.
We have some of the safest roads in the world and deaths from drink driving have fallen significantly over the last 30 years, but it is still responsible for the deaths of 5 people every week. This Christmas we are specifically targeting the biggest perpetrators of this devastating crime – young men, but our message to everyone remains the same: don’t drink and drive.”
Alongside THINK!’s efforts, throughout December, police forces will be dedicating resources to crack down on drink and drug driving across the country. Officers will use saliva testing kits as well as the standard breath tests to test for cannabis and cocaine in addition to alcohol. In 2015, the police administered 110,226 breath tests nationally, of which 5,543 were positive, failed or refused.
Not only does drink driving have the potential to cause serious or even fatal injury, there are a number of everyday consequences that can have a significant and long-lasting effect. Those caught driving under the influence face severe penalties including a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, a hefty fine, or even prison time. What’s more, a conviction often results in job loss, an increase in car insurance and a loss of independence.
There are steps both drivers and passengers can take to help prevent drink driving. Before a night out, it’s important to plan how you’re going to get home. One option is to appoint a designated driver, someone in the group who will stick to soft drinks throughout the evening and drive home safety. Alternatively, take advantage of public transport or book a taxi in advance. If you know someone is planning to drive, don’t offer them an alcoholic drink.
It is hoped that together with the police’s drink and drug drive enforcement efforts, the THINK! campaign will encourage people to think twice before they drive home after a night of drinking and help to reduce the number of fatal accidents that occur as a result of alcohol.
Published on 2nd December 2016.