Drink-drive campaign gets ugly

By Time of article published Dec 4, 2010

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TO MEN who drink and drive the message is simple yet effective: get caught this festive season and get gang-raped in jail.

The controversial anti-drunk driving advertisement produced for Brandhouse’s “Drive Dry” campaign has been applauded by sober driving campaigners and a prisoner rights organisation.

In an attempt to drive home the annual festive road-safety message, the advertisement’s creators have pulled out all the stops to ram home the message using shock tactics.

They want to scare motorists into obeying the rules of the road by portraying the consequences that have become a reality for many finding themselves behind bars.

The dark, sexually loaded advertisement shows actors posing as prisoners accompanied by the words: “They would love to show you a good time”, “he’d love to meet you” and “you don’t want to meet these men”. It is followed by the line, “Don’t drink and drive”.

The campaign also seeks to warn women drivers in different ads, albeit with less of a shock factor.

As the festive season approaches, the Johannesburg Metro Police have issued a stern warning to drivers that drinking and driving has been prioritised as an offence for which there will be no tolerance.

JMPD spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said metro cops would be out in force, making sure drivers were sober, vehicles were roadworthy and that guilty drivers did not try to bribe officers.

“We have been accused several times of being corrupt. This year we will be paying special attention to bribes being made by drivers, as this will not be tolerated,” she said.

“Those who bribe an officer will be fined for both offences, for the bribe as well as the offence they have originally committed.”

Metro cops in Durban and Pietermaritzburg have also warned of roadblocks at hot spots and other random areas, while the provincial Department of Transport last month launched its name-and-shame campaign which will identify those caught driving drunk.

The Drive Dry initiative was meant to raise awareness and change consumer behaviour by evoking strong emotional responses to the consequences of driving drunk, Brandhouse said this week.

The ad campaign, which was flighted on TV this week, will be rolled out to newspapers and billboards as well as displayed in pubs, shebeens and carwash stations, and it will be available through social media networks.

Golden Miles Bhudu, of the South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights, embraced the message of the advert, deeming it “accurate”.

“In prison, an individual is subject to isolation, confinement in a controlled unit, violence, torture, gangsterism, gang-rape, guard brutality, organised black and white supremacy and a life of boredom,” he said.

Imprisonment because of negligence and driving drunk resulted in a “permanent stigma”, as well as having your basic human rights violated.

“The underlying message is to stay on the right side of the law,” Bhudu said. “If you are going to disobey the law, you have to take responsibility.”

Transport department spokes-man Logan Maistry said the initiative to deter drunk driving and road fatalities was welcome.

“A partnership to stop road carnage is long overdue. Through effective partnerships, better enforcement and sustained communi cation, we will address… the challenges associated with road safety,” he said.

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