Drinking and Driving Wrecks Lives

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Drinking And Driving Wrecks Lives is the tagline to a series of public information films (PIFs) that ran in the UK between 1987 and 1997, addressing the problem of drink-driving. Unlike earlier campaigns which focused on consequences to the offender, this campaign was more aimed at showing the devastation that drink-driving can cause to the victims and their families. Storylines and camera techniques (such as the extreme close ups used in the Eyes and Kathy campaigns) were designed to encourage drinking drivers to identify with the people affected by this behaviour, showing that drink driving is not a "victimless crime". There were many PIFs in the series.


Note: This list is not complete yet.

  • Classmates - The first 'Drinking and Driving Wrecks Lives' PIF, from 1987. Depicting a class of children who lost one of their own classmates to a drunk driver. The camera is shown moving from the teacher to rows of children, each narrating their reactions to news of the boy's death, ending on a close friend of the deceased at the back of the class seated next to a now empty chair.[1]
  • Mother (1988) - Depicting a mother who talks about how her daughter, Jenny, was injured in an accident caused by a drinking driver (and, it is implied, has been severely brain damaged.) The mother hopes that her daughter will be able to leave hospital one day, even though doctors have said she will not.[2]
  • A Fireman's Tale - Ken Stott plays a fireman who talks to the camera about attending the scene of an accident where a mother and baby had been killed by a drinking driver.[3]
  • Real Lives (1989) - This advert follows a family whose young son has recently died as a result of a drink driving accident. Newspaper clippings about the young boy's death is shown as well as his funeral, including his grieving family and younger brother. His parents are then shown clearing out what had been his bedroom, and they break down in tears as they find his watch. John Nettles narrated the introduction to this film.[4]
  • Recovery - Depicts a man trying to teach himself how to walk after being left in a wheelchair after a crash. The film has him attempting to use handrails as his instructor encourages him, but about half-way he finds it too painful and asks to stop.[5]
  • Victim - A more sedate example of the campaign from 1987, in which a paralysed man talks about the accident which took his mobility. He says his mates have looked after him and they believe he's lucky to be alive, and then he is fed a cup of coffee by his friend.[6]
  • Kathy Can't Sleep - From 1990, directed by Tony Kaye (American History X, The British Rail ads). The camera shows a little girl named Kathy watching while her mother shouts and rages at her father, who has been convicted of killing a child while driving under the influence.[7]
  • Police Station - A 1991 ad which tells the story from a drink-driver's point of view. It focuses on how intimidating the arrest is, and how frustrated the police come across in such a situation. At the end of the advert, a policeman informs the driver that a victim has died, and another policeman offers him a cup of tea in a clearly agitated manner.[8]
  • Eyes - Another ad from 1992 in which Denise van Outen played a young girl who has been run over by an intoxicated driver. The camera focuses on her blank, lifeless eyes as an ambulance team attempt to revive her. At the end she is pronounced asystolic, meaning her heart has stopped and death is likely imminent.
  • In the Summertime - a 1992 campaign devised to challenge popular misconception that drink driving is only a serious problem at Christmas, the usual time for anti-drink driving PIFs to be shown. With a soundtrack of the Mungo Jerry song "In the Summertime" (one of the lines of which is "Have a drink, have a drive..."), a group of friends are drinking in the beer garden of a pub on a warm summer's evening. As a car departs from the pub, we see one pub-goer cease smiling after catching sight of something shocking. As the music suddenly slows down and dies away, the camera then focuses on the car which has run off the road and into a tree, killing the driver and his wife. The slightly different tagline was "In the summertime, drinking and driving wrecks even more lives".[9] The ad proved to be so popular that it was repeated in 1994, along with a print ad campaign.
  • Christmas Pudding - An advert from 1993. A woman's Christmas dinner with her family is interrupted when the phone rings to inform her that her boyfriend (who had been drinking at another party) was killed on the road, and the burning Christmas pudding on the dinner table then turns into the wreckage of a burning car. Again, the slightly different tagline was; "Drinking and driving wrecks Christmas".[10]
  • One More, Dave - a 1995 Christmas advert where we see a woman in a kitchen liquidising Christmas dinner, with voices in the background of men in a pub encouraging their friend to have another drink. He refuses, saying that he is driving, but they urge him "Come on Dave, just one more." The woman is then seen feeding the liquid concoction to her now quadriplegic son (played by Daniel Ryan), and when he can't swallow it, she encourages "Come on Dave, just one more".[11]
  • Mirror - From 1996, featuring a young woman sitting at a vanity table and staring into the mirror as she talks about being involved in an accident where her boyfriend, who had been drinking, crashed their car on the road. She says she would like to leave her boyfriend but doesn't think another man would want her, and turns her face to the light to show scarring resulting from the accident.[12]
  • Mark - This advert shows a ghostly face of a man that talks about his best friend Mark, who is ostensibly "a great bloke" but after going on a night out and having "only a quick one", he caused an accident which killed a couple, leaving their children as orphans. It challenged public perceptions that you have to be drunk to cause a serious drink driving accident.[13]
  • Mates - This ad is played from the perspective of a critically injured man whose friend was drink-driving. His friend is constantly asking how he is and claiming his innocence, then accepts his mistake and apologises, while medical staff are attempting to treat the man. The advert ends with the driver looking into the camera and saying "We're still mates, aren't we?"[14]

The campaign was replaced in 1997 by a new slogan, "Have none for the road".[15]