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They drink, they drive, we die

10 October 2004

They drink, they drive, we die

The latest installment in New Zealand’s high profile road safety television advertising campaign aims to personalise the battle against drink-driving, encouraging communities to share the responsibility for getting drunk drivers off their roads.

Drink-driving continues to be a major factor in deaths and injuries on New Zealand roads, causing more than 2,000 deaths and injuries every year. Last year 142 people were killed and another 1,972 were injured in drink-driving crashes on our roads.

Drunk drivers kill and maim themselves in large numbers, but they also inflict a huge amount of pain and suffering on other innocent road users. Last year drink-drivers injured or killed:
- 553 of their own passengers (38 killed)
- 332 occupants of other vehicles (22 killed)
- 43 pedestrians and cyclists (6 killed).

“While most people now accept that drink-driving is wrong, too many see it as someone else’s problem. This advertisement aims to bring the fight against drink-driving closer to home, making it more personal,” said Land Transport Safety Authority General Manager Communications and Education Liz Taylor-Read.

The new advertisement follows a man who has been drinking at a local hotel as he prepares to drive home. Several people he knows and cares about approach and tell him “don’t do it”. The number of people urging him not to "do it" gradually increases to illustrate the wide ranging consequences on the broader community of one person’s decision to drink and drive.

Drink-drive ad two of three

“The message we want viewers to take out of this advertisement is 'I don’t want drink-drivers on the road with me or with the people that I care about,” Ms Taylor-Read said.

The ad introduces the new tag-line ‘they drink, they drive, we die’.

This is the first drink-driving ad reflecting the new approach to road safety advertising in New Zealand which aims to increase demand from the general population for a change in behaviour from the offenders who put us all at risk.

Deaths and injuries from drink-driving crashes in New Zealand

Year Deaths % of road deaths Injuries % of reported injuries
1980 217 36.2 3681 23.2
1981 241 36 3687 23.8
1982 267 39.7 3841 23.7
1983 241 37.4 3818 23.2
1984 249 37.2 3874 22.1
1985 274 36.7 4418 23.4
1986 328 42.8 4520 23.9
1987 329 41.3 4498 24.0
1988 318 43.7 4246 24.5
1989 321 42.1 3969 24.0
1990 318 43.6 4531 25.6
1991 269 41.4 3935 23.5
1992 273 42.3 3672 22.8
1993 227 37.8 3042 20.1
1994 225 38.8 3300 19.9
1995 200 34.4 3421 20.3
1996 148 28.8 2664 18.0
1997 147 27.3 2317 17.4
1998 142 28.3 2233 18.0
1999 122 24.0 1904 15.9
2000 115 24.9 1727 15.8
2001 118 25.9 1869 15.1
2002 109 27.0 1995 14.3
2003 142 30.8 1972 13.7

Drink-drive ad three of three

Road safety advertising - key facts
- After a decade of hard-hitting and sometimes graphic messages, a new approach to road safety advertising was adopted in 2004.
- Until this year road safety advertisements were aimed squarely at offenders - showing offences being committed and depicting the consequences for the offenders, often graphically.
- The new advertising approach is aimed at mobilising the silent majority of law-abiding drivers to speak out, reject dangerous behaviour on the road and turn up the heat on those who continue to offend.
- The LTSA/Police road safety advertising and enforcement campaign is one of the most effective public education initiatives ever seen in New Zealand. Awareness has been raised, driver behaviour has improved and independent evaluation shows that the campaign has saved over 300 lives since its inception in 1995.
- While the campaign has been successful, with drink-driving and speeding crashes down and seatbelt wearing rates up, the people who continue to offend are becoming harder to reach as their numbers get smaller.
- Persistent offenders don't always listen to advertisements, but they may listen to their partners, their families, their friends or their workmates.

That's why new advertisements are aimed at society as a whole - to increase demand for an end to the type of dangerous driving which puts all of our lives at risk.

- The ultimate goal of road safety advertising is unchanged - to reduce deaths and injuries from road crashes. The ads continue to focus on the areas responsible for the greatest number of deaths and injuries: drink-driving, excessive speed, non-wearing of safety belts and failure to give way at intersections.


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