Diageo and UNITAR launch new hard-hitting anti-drink drive learning experience

14 May 2021 | Press release

14th May 2021: Diageo, maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, ahead of UN Global Road Safety Week, has today launched a new hard-hitting, anti-drink driving learning experience to help people understand the consequences of drink driving, and support the company’s global ambition to change the attitudes of five million people towards drink driving by 2030.

With recent figures estimating there has been the highest number of casualties from UK drink driving in a decade[1] and 5-35% of all road deaths worldwide believed to be alcohol related[2], ‘WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD’ is a unique, interactive experience that allows people to have a conversation with a real drink driver to help them understand the effects of alcohol, and the shame and stigma that comes with drink driving.

“It is never acceptable to drink and drive.” said Dayalan Nayager, Managing Director GB, Diageo. “This is a real opportunity for drivers to learn about the consequences of drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel. We’re confident the participants will connect with the real-life case studies and their compelling stories. Every single accident caused by drink driving is preventable.”

UK Government Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Drink driving is illegal, puts lives at risk, and there are tough penalties and rigorous enforcement in place for those who choose to do it. This Government has made a commitment to continue working tirelessly to reduce the number of incidents of drink driving on our roads, and our award-winning THINK! campaign continues to challenge social norms and attitudes towards drink driving, particularly among younger drivers. I am pleased to see Diageo engage with young drivers on this crucial issue as we continue our work to prevent future tragedies.”

The experience, developed together with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), presents a series of real-life scenarios with three, pre-recorded drink drivers in the format of a video call, including drink driving after a party, and the morning after consuming alcohol. As each story unfolds, the resource invites the participant to ask increasingly raw questions such as “Did you feel pressure to drive?”, “What was going through your head?” and “How did your family react?”. At the end of the module, participants are shown a summary of learnings and directed towards other online resources that can offer additional advice and support.

Estrella Merlos, Global Head of UNITAR’s Road Safety Training Initiative said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our work with Diageo to bring this innovative new tool to young people across the world. At UNITAR, we strive to work with partners to reduce road traffic deaths and shape a better future, and we are positive that this tool will go some way towards contributing to this major objective and the UN’s Second Decade of Action for Road Safety targets.”

David, a case study participant commenting on his first-hand experience said: “This is a real issue with serious consequences. I hope that by sharing my real-life experience, in an open and honest way, I will encourage people to think about themselves and their friends and make the right decision to never drink and drive.”

Diageo has a long-standing commitment to promote positive drinking through moderation and tackling the harmful use of alcohol. The company has a history of supporting initiatives aimed at reducing traffic deaths and improving road safety globally. This latest initiative is part of an evolving approach that promotes changes in attitudes as a way of tackling drink driving and supports our 10-year sustainability action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress.

Launching in Great Britain in May 2021, the experience will be rolled out to North America, Kenya, South Africa and India over the next 12 months, with users in each market able to select from a series of real drink driver case studies based in their own country or region who speak their local language.


1. Reported road casualties in Great Britain, provisional estimates involving illegal alcohol levels: 2019
2. WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety (2018)