A new anti drink-driving campaign which specifically targets 18 to 24-year-old males has been launched by the Department of the Environment (DoE) Northern Ireland.
Launched on 11 December, the campaign aims to highlight the fact that drivers should "never ever drink and drive", suggesting that impairment begins well below the current legal limit.
The TV advert tells the story of a group of young men enjoying a night out. The driver acts responsibly, having just one pint as his friends becoming increasingly drunk. However, this single pint is enough to delay his reactions as he fails to brake in time at a junction, before the car plummets into a river. A longer two-and-a-half-minute version of the film is running on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
DOE is also making extensive use of social media as part of the campaign, which also spells out the legal consequences of a drink driving conviction.
While the 2015 THINK! festive drink drive campaign leads with the message “a second drink can double your chance of being in a fatal collision”, the DoE points to research which suggests impairment begins well below the current drink drive limit. It adds that the skills most critical for driving – the brain’s ability to observe, interpret and process information from the eyes and other senses – are impaired by alcohol even at the lowest levels.
Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, said: “It [the campaign] stresses the impairing effects of alcohol on driving, even from the first drink. The message is designed to increase further the unacceptability of driving even after one drink, especially for younger males.
“Police Service Northern Ireland statistics show that 17 to 24-year-old males are most at risk of causing death and serious injury by drink and driving, either to themselves and other innocent road user. Our campaign is heavily targeted towards them with intense use of social media.
“All drivers though who buy and consume a pint or any other alcoholic drink should realise it could be the most expensive one they ever had, ultimately costing them or other road users their lives.”