50 years of drink driving education

Women are kicking the drink-driving habit more slowly than men

A quick drink never hurt anyone (1992 drink driving campaign)

A quick drink never hurt anyone (1992 drink driving campaign)

On the 50th anniversary of the first public information film about drink driving AA research shows that women are kicking the drink-driving habit more slowly than men.

Women are kicking the drink-driving habit more slowly than men, Automobile Association research reveals.

While the likelihood of a male driver failing a breath test after an accident is falling steadily, the decline in female failure rates is only a third of men’s.

However, three times as many men fail a breath test after an accident than women - even though female drivers make up 46.5% of full driving licence holders.

Official figures* show the number of male drivers who failed a breath test after an accident has dropped by 17.6% between 2010 and 2013 (2992 compared to 2466).

The number of female drivers who failed a breath test after an accident in the same time period has dropped by just 5.9% (853 to 803).

The same statistics show that in 2013 1.2% of female drivers were found to be over the drink drive limit after having an accident. This figure was unchanged from 2012 and a rise from 1.1% in 2011 and 2010.

Although the percentage of male drivers who were over the limit after an accident was higher at 2.3% in 2013, this was an improvement from the previous year’s figure of 2.4% and of 2.5% in 2011.

Older women

The latest statistics show a particular increase in failed breath tests in female drivers after an accident in the 60-to-69 age group. The percentage in this demographic doubled from 0.4% in 2012 to 0.8% in 2013.

50 years of education

The analysis comes on the 50th anniversary of the first public information film about drink driving.

If he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive

Initial campaigns against drink driving typically focussed on men, who in those days, were seen as more likely to be doing both activities. 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.

If he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive (1964 drink drive campaign)

If he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive

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.”

Ultimately the message is simple; if you are going to drink, don’t drive and if you are going to drive, don’t drink

Edmund King, AA president

Designated drivers?

Edmund King, AA president; said: “While women have a better track record on drink driving than men, it is important to shine a spotlight on the fact their improvement rate has stalled in recent years, and in some age groups, regressed.

“Part of this may be down to the fact women are more likely to be the designated drivers, but whatever the reason there is no excuse for drink driving.

“50 years of education has had a fantastic impact on changing the public’s perception of drink driving, but there is more to do.

“Analysis of drink drive offenders indicates that specific groups, in terms of age and gender, need targeting in different ways.

“But ultimately the message is simple; if you are going to drink, don’t drive and if you are going to drive, don’t drink.”

Watch the 50th anniversary anti-drink drive campaign advert

50 years of campaigning

50 years of education


(7 November 2014)

*Figures from Reported Road Casualties Great Britain table RAS51015 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010