How attitudes to drink driving changed

Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by Jezston, 4 Feb 2013.

  1. Jezston

    Jezston Über Member

    I'm relatively young, in that I don't remember a time when drink driving was considered acceptable, but my understanding is there was a time where it was considered more so, and there was substantive campaigning involved to have it taken more seriously, resulting in the attitudinal shift we have today where most people would never even consider driving over the limit - or even drinking at all when needing to drive.

    I'm interested in hearing from those who would have lived through such change, and consider how the campaigns were fought and their effect, as I feel that pushing for attitude changes would be more effective towards making cycling safer and more popular than things like cycle lanes and the like.
  2. david k

    david k Hi

    North West
    it used to be called drunk driving as opposed to drink driving, nobody had a problem with people drinking and driving but it was looked down on if you were drunk, but of course drunk was subjective, ive had 6 pints but im not drunk so i can drive was often seemed okay!:eek:
  3. Bodhbh

    Bodhbh Veteran

    It must be the single most successful government campaign that I can think of. I was not old enought to drive before that attitude shift, but I can remember very well how some in the family and and friends of family used to carry on - e.g. all day drinking on Christmas Day and driving home without much being said - and it would be absolutely unacceptable now.

    I think not all countries in Europe have the same stigma attached to drink driving. I remember my boss in Belgium invited me around to his house for a few beers after starting the job. He was a fairly well to do chap, university lecturer. He didn't know me from adam really, or what my attitude to drink driving would be, but he drove me home 30 odd miles away after polishing off 5-6 beers, just assumed I'd be okay with it. Had a few experiences like that.
    david k and Pat "5mph" like this.
  4. Linford

    Linford Guest

    Drug driving is a much bigger problem now than it was back then. The amount of cars I walk or ride past now where I can smell the ganja coming from it is quite scary.
    There should be as much emphasis on this as Drink Driving IMO
  5. Sara_H

    Sara_H Guru

    I'm 40 and I remember my Dads friend claiming that most people drove better when they'd been drinking!
    I also remember my Dad refusing to wear a seat belt claiming it would cause more injuries than it would prevent.
    my feeling is that we'll t to a stage en speeding and general road hog behaviour is considered antisocial but it wont be for a long time.
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  6. Linford

    Linford Guest

    Speeding is subjective though because it isn't as black and white as drink or drug driving
  7. Haitch

    Haitch Flim Flormally

    I know better than anyone else what I can do. Introducing a law will make people break it as a matter of principle. This is the way we've always done it. It's my right as a freeborn Englishman. We didn't win the war to get bossed about by little Hitlers.

    It wasn't so much the drink/driving campaign but the attitude to it, and it's been repeated ad nauseum over the years: gay rights, women's rights, seat belts, the EU, immigrants, speeding, racial equality, health and safety...
  8. GBC

    GBC Veteran

    The acceptance of drunk driving was only ever a social acceptance; it never went any further than that. I was in the Police during the early to late 70s and it was pretty much a zero tolerance approach by us and the courts. I don't recall any specific campaigns, apart from those traditional at the Festive period, it was really just a very gradual shift in public attitude from acceptance and sympathy for those caught, to outright condemnation. Road deaths were more common at that time, and the number of them attributed to drunk drivers was undoubtedly a factor in that swing.
    david k likes this.
  9. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    It was a different world in the days when drinking and driving was acceptable.
    The vast majority of cars were less powerful and incapable of the speeds modern cars achieve with ease.
    There was less traffic on the roads, fewer cars, and those tended to be driven by older people who felt no need to impress their friends regarding their vehicle or driving prowess. The younger people, who feature prominently in crash staistics today, could not afford to buy cars in these days. Fewer people drank to excess due to the cost of alcohol putting excessive consumption out of reach to people on the average wage and alcohol was not promoted as it is today by supermarkets etc.
    From memory, those who drank and drove were older, generally drove quite carefully and slowly and any crashes they had tended to be of the bump and scrape variety rather than high speed collisions with other vehicles or roadside furniture.
    Just as the world has changed so attitudes have changed, the latter perhaps not as fast as some would wish.
    david k likes this.
  10. Linford

    Linford Guest

    [QUOTE 2293258, member: 45"]That's your urban perspective.[/quote]

    Do you agree or disagree with what I said ?
  11. byegad

    byegad Legendary Member

    NE England
    I started driving in 1969 and have owned either a Motorcycle or a car ever since, sometimes both at the same time.

    Drink driving was rife, I knew lots of people who drank heavily and drove home, and I have to say I also probably drank enough to fail a breath test and then drove on occasion. The thing that changed driver behaviour was a simple thing. They took away your driving licence and as time went by I got to know several people who'd been caught and banned. Their return to driving was damn expensive as Insurers were reluctant to cover a convicted driver. So the simple ban also involving a fine at sentencing led to increased costs for the returning driver for many years after the ban expired.

    Fining a driver £45 and adding 3 points to his licence for hitting a cyclist is not going to change driver behaviour.
  12. MacB

    MacB Lover of things that come in 3's

    [QUOTE 2293258, member: 45"]That's your urban perspective.[/quote]

    yep, you try to go out for a nice quiet bit of dogging and all the cars you approach are full of druggies rather than swingers....
  13. Linford

    Linford Guest

    [QUOTE 2293328, member: 45"]I agree that it's an issue. With the caveat that you, not being a rural dweller and having a tendency to only see what's in front of you, don't have the bigger picture in terms of proportions.[/quote]

    I have certainly see drug use amongst the people I have mixed who live out of the towns with over the years to be very prolific. You justnotivce it more in the towns because they are sat on traffic lights and you get a waft of it as you go past them.
  14. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Legendary Member

    At two places I worked, one in the late 70's and one mid 80's someone who drove as part of their job were banned for drink driving. They both kept their jobs and were given different roles until they could drive again. Can't see that happening these days, thank goodness.
  15. Pat "5mph"

    Pat "5mph" A kilogrammicaly challenged woman Moderator

    [QUOTE 2292872, member: 45"]There are pockets, some rural areas for example, where it's not considered as unacceptable as we'd like it to be.[/quote]
    Some countries abroad are not so strict about it either :sad:
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