Summer drink-drive campaign launched

THE MOST expensive ever summer anti-drink drive campaign was launched yesterday, writes Christian Wolmar.

It took the same theme as last year's, amid revelations that the number of road deaths caused by drink-driving is the lowest since the War.

Philip Martin, the Department of Transport head of road safety, said yesterday: 'There is a perception that the numbers have stopped going down but this is not the case. Deaths are still dropping by around 10 per cent per year.'

Figures due to be released soon by the Department will show that the number of road deaths caused by drink driving will be below 600, compared with more than twice that number 10 years ago.

However, ministers are worried about two problem age groups: men aged between 20-24 and 40-55. The advertisement is being targeted at them with many showings at the interval during World Cup games.

Teenagers rarely drink and drive, but a quarter of drink- drive deaths are drivers in their early twenties. The older group is formed of hardcore drink drivers who, according to Robert Key, the minister for roads, 'even think they drive a bit better when they've had a few'.

By repeating last year's advertisement which uses the 1970 hit song In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry and which shows a group of drinkers at a rural pub being killed when their car crashes, the Department has been able to use the whole pounds 1.3m budget on TV advertising, on 600 poster sites across the country and 1.5 million leaflets.

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