The latest Christmas campaign warning against drinking and driving over the seasonal period is now out. It is fifty years since the first film warning about the dangers of drink driving was broadcast. The first film was centered around a black and white slide show of an office party and the narrator warns that "drinking and driving are dangerous" followed by drawings of whisky glasses and some warning statistics. The words 'don't ask a man to drink and drive' clearly targeted male drivers. At the time the film was hard hitting and drinking and driving was hard to prosecute and still socially acceptable. You can see the video here:
Since then videos have become very hard hitting and this is certainly true of this year's film which is very stark and highly poignant. A car overturns and Kool and the Gang's hit 'Celebration' is playing. Firefighters come to the scene, cut the wreckage apart and put out a fire in the vehicle as they sing along to the words. Police officers come to help looking very sombre and they also sing along. A paramedic works on the injured victim by pumping his chest, he too sings the words. The victim is taken into hospital and as the team attend to him one medic shouts "come on' in time to these particular words in the song to try and bring the man back to life, underlying the desperation of the situation. The final scene involves two police men standing at a door and one of them says some of the word's of the song - "it's a celebration". A woman holding a young child opens the door to speak to the officers. The cruel irony of the song's upbeat tone and lyrics are not lost on the viewer. The wording across the advert states “In the last 50 years, drink driving deaths have fallen from 1,640 a year to just 230, but that’s still 230 too many.” You can view the video here:
There has been a huge decrease in fatal crashes, drink and driving is thankfully no longer socially acceptable and this is due to improved car and road safety, increases in prosecutions and consistent and effective awareness campaigns. However, as the statistics demonstrate 230 deaths are still too many and to the loved ones of each of those 230 people it is unbearable.
Don't drink and drive this Christmas
Back in 1964 far more men than women drove as that was the culture then hence men were the primary target of drink drive campaigns. Now far more women are on the roads and some of them are also guilty of drink driving. A recent study by Social Research Associates (SRA) showed that the percentage of women convicted of being over the limit has almost doubled in the past 15 years, from 9% of the total caught in 1998 to 17% by 2012. However, recent statistics reveal that men were responsible for 83% of all drink drive convictions. So it is easy to see why this year's campaign focuses on a male driver. As time goes by and female drink driving continues to rise we can expect to see women being targeted more heavily in future campaigns.
So please, this Christmas and New Year, whatever your circumstances don't drink and drive. Keep the numbers of taxi firms on your mobile or arrange for a pick up from a reliable source. If someone offers you a lift and you suspect they may have been drinking don't get in the car with them. Be safe and above all be careful! For more advice visit: http://think.direct.gov.uk/drink-driving.html