26 November 2014

The Government has launched its latest festive season drink driving Think! campaign, 50 years after the first drink driving public information film aired in 1964, with an office Christmas party as its setting.

The 1964 ad featured an end of year office party in full swing, to the sound of jingle bells, with the message “Don’t ask a man to drink and drive.” Its tone is far lighter than the latest Think! ad, which features a shocking car crash after a party, set to a haunting rendition of Kool & the Gang's hit, “Celebration”.

The assumption of the 1964 ad was that the majority of workers — and indeed drivers — would be male.

However, recent statistics suggest that it may be time to focus on female workers. A new survey conducted by the Automobile Association (AA) indicated that the number of women drink-driving has almost doubled in the past 15 years.

This has led the AA to warn of a “growing risk” from female drink-drivers who believe they are fit to drive despite being over the legal alcohol limit.

In order to ensure the health and safety of employees during and after the office party, it is considered good practice for employers to consider how employees will get home after the party.

Suggestions from legal experts have included:

  • issuing advice in advance about not drinking and driving

  • considering providing transport home, such as laying on coaches

  • ending the event before public transport stops

  • encouraging employees to think about how they will get home by providing cab companies’ telephone numbers and suggesting employees check the train times.

Finally, employees and employers should be aware that morning-after drink driving is a growing area of concern, with police forces increasingly focusing on this aspect in recent years by means of greater police action timed to coincide with the commute to work.