WHO position as outlined in the strategy
Driving under the influence of alcohol seriously affects a person’s judgment, coordination, and other motor functions. Alcohol-impaired driving is a significant public health problem that affects both the drinker and, in many cases, innocent parties. Strong evidence-based interventions exist for reducing drink-driving. Strategies to reduce harm associated with drink-driving should include deterrent measures that aim to reduce the likelihood that a person will drive under the influence of alcohol and measures that create a safer driving environment in order to reduce both the likelihood and severity of harm associated with alcohol-influenced crashes. In some countries, the number of traffic-related injuries involving intoxicated pedestrians is substantial and should be a high priority for intervention.
Policy options outlined in the strategy
(a) Introducing and enforcing an upper limit for blood alcohol concentration, with a reduced limit for both professional and young/novice drivers
(b) Promoting sobriety checkpoints and random breath-testing
(c) Applying administrative suspension of driving licenses
(d) Implementing graduated licensing for novice drivers with zero tolerance for drink-driving
(e) Using ignition interlocks, in certain contexts and where available, to reduce drink-driving incidents
(f) Imposing mandatory driver education and treatment programs as necessary
(g) Providing alternative transportation, including public transport after closing time for drinking establishments
(h) Conducting public awareness and information campaigns to support policy and increase general deterrence
(i) Running mass-media campaigns targeted at specific situations (e.g., holiday seasons) or specific audiences (e.g., young people)
Brief comments from an industry perspective
It should be noted that the majority of these policy options can only be implemented by governments; it is their responsibility, for example, to introduce and enforce an upper limit for blood alcohol concentration and/or to implement random breath testing or administrative suspension of driving licenses. However, that does not mean that there is no role for the industry to play in supporting this element of the strategy. Industry members have a long track record of support for programs and campaigns that aim to raise awareness of the risks of drinking and driving and of working with road safety organizations or police authorities to help communicate relevant messages. Countermeasures vary widely from country to country but generally aim to persuade people not to drink and drive. Initiatives can be separated into four broad groups: public education, policies, enforcement, and sanctions. Measures chosen and applied in a given country must enjoy the support of both government and the public.
How can industry members support the above policy options?
- Supporting relevant government policies such as BAC limits and tough penalties for offenders
- Sponsoring alternative late-night transportation or providing discount vouchers for taxis
- Conducting public awareness and information campaigns
- Running media campaigns targeted at specific occasions (e.g., public holidays)
- Using drink-drive simulators in the retail trade to educate consumers about the effects of alcohol on driving ability
- Providing free soft drinks for drivers in the retail trade
- Developing and running designated driver campaigns
- Developing and implementing employee alcohol policies that include drink-drive education and enforcement provisions
- Donating breathalyzers to local police forces, with the provision of appropriate training
- Measuring and evaluating how all such activities impact the awareness of consumers about the risks of drinking and driving.
What ICAP tools are available to support this work?
Drink-drive initiatives are part of the Global Actions on Harmful Drinking work in China, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and Vietnam. See www.global-actions.org
for more details.
What other tools are available?