91% of people in Yorkshire and Humberside feel ashamed to drink and drive as 50th anniversary THINK! Campaign is launched

On the 50th anniversary of the first public information film, new research from THINK! shows how much attitudes have changed to drink driving in the last half century. Of those surveyed, 88% in Yorkshire and Humberside agreed drink driving was unacceptable and 91% 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 “four 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.

However in 2012 in Humberside, 949 people were convicted for driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs. In West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire it was 2,073 and 1,160 people respectively. Furthermore in 2012 there were 30 deaths in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Today, the government is sending out a clear message there is still a long way to go. A new advert, launching today, reminds people that one death on our roads is too many. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The change in attitudes to drink driving over the last 50 years is a huge success story. It is hard to imagine now how shocking and groundbreaking the first drink drive campaigns were when they launched. Clearly THINK! has had a significant impact.

“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. This makes the THINK! campaign as relevant as ever.”

Today, over 86% of people in the area say that they would think badly of someone who drinks and drives and almost half of respondents say they would prefer to tell their partner they watch pornography regularly than confess to being caught drink driving (44%).

The survey also showed that 64% would rather reveal their internet search history to their employer than admit to a drink drive conviction, with 27% rather telling their partner they’ve had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Shaun Helman, Head of Transport Psychology at the Transport Research Laboratory says: “Compared with 50 years ago, drink driving is now very much minority behaviour. This change has been achieved through firm laws, highly visible enforcement, and a sea-change in public attitudes; drink driving is now frowned upon by the vast majority of people.

“No-one working in road safety is complacent though; through a commitment to catching drink drivers, and through harnessing peer pressure, we will continue to reinforce the message that drink driving is completely unacceptable.”