Road Safety News

THINK! campaign warns: a second drink can double your chance of being in a fatal collision

Tuesday 1st December 2015

The 2015 festive THINK! drink drive campaign targets drivers who think it’s OK to have a couple of drinks before they get behind the wheel.

The campaign is launched on the back of new research which shows that while half the population (51%) would not consider consuming any alcoholic drinks before driving, a ‘shocking’ one in 10 would consider having two or more drinks before they get behind the wheel. This increases to one in five (19%) among men aged 18-34 years.

The research shows that the majority of drivers in England and Wales are aware of the need to avoid drinking before driving, with 60% of those surveyed saying it is not okay to drink at all before driving. However, even though 93% of people don’t think it is right to drive after more than one drink, almost a fifth (18%) admit to having done so.

The campaign targets those who do not recognise that even a small number of drinks before driving can be deadly. The pair of adverts reflect common scenarios where the target audience (young men) might be tempted to have a couple of drinks before driving, or choose to drive after drinking. The ads show the devastating consequences of drink driving and compares this with the positive result of saying ‘no’ - staying alive.

The campaign launches today (1 Dec) and will feature TV, online video and radio advertising. This will be complemented with ‘out of home’ adverts in pub washrooms and social media to reach the target audience when they are planning, or are on, a night out. The launch will be supported by spokespeople and case studies.

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, said: “Drivers know that drink driving is wrong. It can destroy families and ruin lives. Yet some irresponsible drivers still take the risk and get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.

“Over the past 30 years drink drive deaths have fallen significantly but every death or serious injury is one too many. The best way for drivers to keep themselves and other road users safe is simple: don’t drink and drive.”

Liz Brooker, spokesperson for Road Safety GB, said: “The combined efforts to tackle those who choose to drink and drive have been successful over the years.

“But some people still think of a drink driver as someone who drinks copious amounts and gets in the car. They don’t realise that they could be a drink driver too, by having a small amount to drink and taking to the road.

“This campaign will make people think twice before taking another drink, helping to make our roads safer.”

Sarah Sillars, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “Many of the people we work with on our drink-drive rehabilitation courses aren’t repeat offenders, many are drivers who thought that a second one couldn’t hurt.

“We support THINK!’s campaign which highlights the importance of avoiding the temptation of ‘just one more’.”

A toolkit for road safety officers has been uploaded to the members' area of this website.


Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

I also want to know the research that shows this relationship between a second drink and risk of fatal accident. It is quite a straightforward claim but all the newspapers simply list a survey of answers that don't relate to this claim.

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

Whats the statistical basis of the campaign?

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

Tim, this reminds me of the "Stay Low" campaign in the 1980s. I watched my friends in the pub getting another drink as they repeated the slogan, oh yeah I'm staying low, ha ha ha! That campaign resulted in the first increase in drink-driving for years, and the analysis was that people didn't understand what 'stay low' meant, how low was safe. Surely the moment of decision you should target is before the first drink? A clear 'don't drink and drive' message leaves nothing to doubt.
Guy Bradley, Hertfordshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

Good but once again targeting men in spite of the recent research showing that women's drink driving convictions are rising faster than men's (albeit still fewer).
Kris Beuret

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

The campaign aims to get people to think at the moment of decision. The #butalive creative idea is based on the insight that our audience often push their luck either when they have to unexpectedly drive to pick up mates/girlfriends, or when they are bought drinks. In these situations the instinct is to accept and so we are aiming to influence the moment of decision and get them to say no. The ads dramatise these scenarios to make them more engaging.

Duncan I understand your concerns. We had the same concerns with this route so carefully probed this point when testing the ads with our target audience. So we're confident that most people will recognise the scenarios as tongue in cheek.
Tim Lennon, Department for Transport

Agree (9) | Disagree (4)

There's only one chance in a million of dying in a car accident so doubling the level of risk to two chances in a million is a gamble I would certainly take to keep the wife happy.

Ruth is right, we do need to discuss campaigns like this, but we also need to discuss how they might end up having the opposite effect to that intended. Kahneman covers a lot of the psychology behind the fact that people often make decisions based on delusional optimism rather than on a rational weighting of gains, losses and probabilities. It is suggested that the campaign will make people think twice about taking that second drink, but that will very much depend on the circumstances they find themselves in at the time.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (5) | Disagree (13)

I really like this campaign. Yes Malcolm shouldn't have anything to drink if he’s driving but the real message is about NOT giving into external pressure. It’s about taking control of your own decisions and not “going with the flow”. It’s OK to say NO.
I’ll be using the campaign in my area along with a strong message of “never drink and drive” and “think about the morning after”. Different messages (and styles) resonate with different people and at least you’re talking about the campaign…
Ruth Gore Safer Roads Humber

Agree (12) | Disagree (3)

If it's the choice between the absolute certainty of being banished to the photo-copier room against the remote possibility of being involved in an accident then I would suggest that in similar circumstances most ambitious young men would take the second drink.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (8) | Disagree (10)

There is a simple way of never having to decide whether to have a second drink. Never have a first drink!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (22) | Disagree (4)

It seem to me from what was said at the recent seminar that one drink is acceptable, that two is considered the max and three is definitely not recommended. Why do we still believe that one drink is OK? It's been found that alcohol impairment starts with that one and proceeds through more and more when the state of mind is continually altered by the consumption of increasing amounts of alcohol. When will we learn that it should be a nil tolerance to drink and drive, just like drugs. Nil tolerance, not it's OK to have one or two.
Bob Craven lancs. Space is Safer Campaigner

Agree (22) | Disagree (7)