Half a century of hard-hitting drink drive campaigns has dramatically altered public attitudes to the offence, according to a recent survey.
This month marks the 50th anniversary since the very first public information film, warning motorists about the dangers of drinking whilst over the limit, was broadcast.
The black and white cartoon first aired on November 7th, 1964 and bore little resemblance to the no-nonsense, often shocking, adverts that would follow.
Today’s campaigns pull no punches in depicting the tragic consequences of drink driving; the most recent film, launched this month, shows in graphic detail the aftermath of a road traffic accident.
But the “shock tactics” that became a staple of many adverts down the decades do seem to have made a difference, with a dramatic shift in the way the crime is perceived.
In 1964, many motorists didn’t take the offence seriously and some were still happy to brag about getting away with breaking the law.
Today, by contrast, around 88 per cent of people said they would look down on someone who drives while over the limit. And almost half of those surveyed claimed they would rather admit to their partner that they regularly watched pornography than confess to being caught drink driving.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that the shift in opinion was a huge success story and credited campaigns with playing a huge part.
“It is hard to imagine now how shocking and ground-breaking the first drink drive campaigns were when they launched,” he said.
“Most of us understand drink driving wrecks lives, but there is further to go. In 2012, 230 people were killed in drink driving accidents – 230 too many.”
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