This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Road Safety Act 1967: the legislation that first enshrined the drink driving limit in law. On 8 October that year, it became an offence to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80mg per 100ml, and the breathalyser was introduced to enforce it.
Since then, the Government has made great strides in tackling drink driving and reducing the number of accidents caused by it. Unfortunately, the statistics don’t stretch back all the way to 1967, but those that we do have tell a pretty clear story.
In 1979, when records began, there were 19,470 drink driving accidents on Britain’s roads. By 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, that number had fallen to 5,730 – a 71% reduction. In the same period, the number of deaths caused by drink driving fell by 88%, from 1,640 to 200.
The effectiveness of drink driving campaigns
This success is due in large part to a shift in attitudes towards drink driving. In 2014, a survey by THINK! found that 91% of people believe that driving drunk is unacceptable.
As we explained earlier this year, that shift has been helped not only by the law, but also by the hard-hitting campaigns that have appeared on billboards and television screens. THINK! has compiled some of its most memorable clips in a video to mark this 50th anniversary year:
Despite the effectiveness of these campaigns, drink driving remains a serious problem. As that video reminds us, 200 deaths a year is still 200 too many.
Be safe this Christmas. Don’t drink and drive.