"Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving"
Why does the Ad Council’s “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” campaign matter? Because every 52 minutes, someone is killed in an alcohol-related car accident.
While this is a chilling statistic, it is not new to the Ad Council. In fact, we have focused on drunk driving prevention since 1983, reminding Americans that "Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,” and sharing home videos of everyday people whose lives have been shattered by drunk driving.
This personal perspective on the effects of drunk driving has helped make the campaign an undeniable success: Since launching, nearly 70 percent of Americans have tried to stop someone from driving after drinking.
But when alcohol-related driving deaths began steadily increasing (after reaching an all-time low in 1998), the Ad Council recognized the need for a new approach. Our research showed too many drivers thought our drunk driving message didn’t apply to them: that driving “buzzed” after only a few drinks was different than driving drunk.
We knew we needed to explain the dangers of buzzed driving, and to motivate people to stop. In December 2005, the Ad Council delivered a new campaign that addressed the issue directly: “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” Initially, our ads showed two side-by-side images of someone blowing on a breathalyzer, taking a mug shot or on a stretcher, one marked drunk driving, and one marked buzzed driving. The images were identical.
Our newest PSAs ask viewers to think about a different set of consequences than our previous drunk driving ads: the actual financial cost of being pulled over for driving buzzed. These costs–between fines, rising insurance costs, lawyer fees and more–could total over $10,000.
Our campaign is already making a measurable impact: In 2013, 49 percent of adults 21 and older said they will always get a ride, take a taxi, or use public transport rather than drive if they feel buzzed. This is a seven percent improvement from when our campaign launched in 2005.
Of course, there is still more to do. To learn more about our campaign, visit BuzzedDriving.AdCouncil.org, where you can watch the latest PSAs, sign a pledge not to drive buzzed, and share critical facts with your community about the dangers of buzzed driving–and strategies for staying safe.