Pop refrain drives message home

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The Independent Online
A CLASSIC pop song that includes the words 'have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find', forms the jingle for the summer anti- drink drive campaign, launched yesterday at a south London pub.

The lyrics of Mungo Jerry's 1970 hit song In The Summertime also advises people to do 'a ton, or a ton and 25' but the accompanying film opens with scenes of jolly drinking and ends with a close-up of a resulting accident with two dead bodies.

Mungo Jerry, alias Ray Dorset, said: 'When I wrote the song in 1970 it was a kind of celebration of life, a pursuit of adolescent dreams. In the 1970s life was free and easy, but now it is not cool to drink and drive.'

Robert Key, the roads minister, said that he had a personal interest in curbing drink-driving because in his student days he came across the aftermath of a ghastly crash with a scene of 'bodies, blood and silence'.

The 40-second televison commercial will be shown until August in a pounds 1.6m campaign, the biggest to date, in an effort to curb drink-driving in the summer, which claims more victims than the winter. In 1991, the last year for which statistics are available, June was the worst month for drink- related deaths.

Since 1981, when there were 1,540 deaths, the number of people killed in drink-related accidents has reduced sharply to about 700. Mr Key said: 'Long summer evenings, outdoor social events, barbecues and nice drives to country pubs all make it difficult to believe that a couple of drinks can do any harm.'

But Mr Dorset disturbed the calm of the press conference when he demanded to know why the alcohol industry did not fund the campaign and why they were not forced to print a warning on every bottle and can. 'We have a very good relationship with the brewers,' the minister said.