Department for Transport: How thirty years of drink drive communications saved almost 2,000 lives

Principal authors: Josh Bullmore and Steve Watkins, Leo Burnett


This is the story of how communications changed drink driving behaviour over the course of thirty years from 1979 to 2009.

Four successive periods of communication tackled drink driving attitudes, acceptability, denial and decisions.

This relentless pursuit of potential drink drivers saved almost 2,000 lives and prevented over 10,000 serious injuries.

The value of this to society is £3bn. We estimate that for periods two, three and four of the campaign, every £1 spent on communications saved society £154, £12 and £38 respectively.

The campaign offers powerful learning for all who seek to change behaviour over the long term.


In 1979, 28 people were killed or seriously injured (KSI) on our roads every day in drink driving accidents. By 2009 this had fallen to just four a day.