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Fifty Years of UK Drink Drive Campaigning

7 November 2014

On the 50th anniversary of the first UK public information film, new research from THINK! shows how much attitudes have changed to drink driving in the last half century.

Of those surveyed, 91% agreed drink driving was unacceptable and 92% of people said they would feel ashamed if they were caught drinking and driving. This compares to over half of male drivers and nearly two thirds of young male drivers who admitted drink driving on a weekly basis in 1979.

The shift in attitudes is a stark contrast to the first drink drive public information film in 1964, which was set in an office Christmas party. The advert politely reminded people that “4 single whiskeys and the risk of accident can be twice as great… If he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive.”

Through a combination of road safety campaigning and better enforcement, road deaths due to drink driving have fallen from 1,640 in 1967 to 230 deaths in 2012. Today, the government is sending out a clear message there is still a long way to go. The new advert reminds people that 1 death on our roads is too many.

The UK's Think Drink Drive campaign won the 2013 Prince Michael International Premier Award.

As part of its Making Roads Safer Policy and to further reduce the impact of those who drink and drive the UK government is taking action to:

• close the loophole in the law where some drivers avoid prosecution by requesting a second test if their breath reading is no more than 50 microgrammes per 100 millilitres – breathalysers are now sophisticated enough give an accurate roadside reading without the need for a second blood or urine test
• approve roadside drug testing devices for the police by 2015
• prosecute drivers under new drug driving legislation through the Crime and Courts Act 2013 , which inserts a new section 5A in the Road Traffic Act 1988 , to come into effect via regulations in March 2015
• provide guidance for healthcare professionals to make sure that people taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs understand the new offence and their responsibility not to drive whilst impaired


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