Heineken tackle drink driving in New Zealand.

Results from Heineken’s initiative ‘When you Drive, Never Drink,’ shed light on New Zealand’s scary drink driving culture. The study utilised signage and promotions to subtly, yet specifically influence drivers to commit to staying alcohol-free at restaurants and bars. According to the New Zealand Transport Agency, alcohol/drugs contributed to 80 fatal traffic crashes, 144 serious injury crashes, and 479 minor injury crashes in 2016. Any way in which we can reduce these figures or encourage people to refrain from actively drink driving seems a worthwhile undertaking.

Heineken’s initiative was based in 5 bars across Auckland and Christchurch in November of last year. During the control week, 89% of bar patrons in Auckland were driving home after consuming alcohol. During the test week, this number dropped 7%. Christchurch saw the same numbers fall from 84% to 82%. Peter Simmons, Managing Director of DB Breweries, suggested that the positive changes seen following the test week, combined with sustained effort, could constructively impact the mindsets of drink drivers. “Many people have their own rules around how much alcohol they think they can ‘safely’ drink before driving. We know that even a small amount of alcohol can affect people’s driving, with research showing that drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.01% are 46% more likely to be the cause of an accident than sober drivers.”

Heineken is committed to leading the charge against drink driving across the globe. Simons believes that ‘When you Drive, Never Drink’ will help us realise that influence needs to extend all the way back to before the driver leaves the house with the intention of drink driving—before they step foot in the bar/restaurant. ‘When you Drive, Never Drink,’ provides us with useful insights that will help inform our longer-term behavioural change work.”

Key findings:

-    Most Kiwis (59%) will drive to or from a bar.

-    9 out of 10 drivers have decided to drink and drive before arriving at a bar.

-    A study shows a 7% decrease in drink driving behaviour in Auckland after implementing small changes across the bar environment.

-    68% of respondents consider it acceptable to consume one to two drinks before driving to their next destination.