Drinking and Driving over the Festive Season?

Then it's time to make another plan!

by: Cathy Marston | 14 Dec 2009

I don’t have many virtues – certainly very few where alcohol is concerned – but I do try not to drink and drive. Sometimes this involves heated negotiations with my husband about who gets to drink and who doesn’t, sometimes it involves lots of spitting when I really want to be glugging and often it ends up with very expensive taxis in both directions.

Sadly, I realise that this is not the norm here in SA. The drink-driving stats in this country are horrendous with alcohol being blamed for 50% of the 18,000 deaths on our roads every year – yes, that number is correct – 18,000 deaths a year. A massive sea-change is needed in people’s attitudes to drinking and driving, and thankfully this does seem to be happening. Up until recently, the only alternative was to catch a taxi home, leaving your car parked in town overnight, which isn't always very advisable. Then came the first drive-home service in South Africa, Goodfellas, and now there are a myriad of choices with new ones cropping up all the time. All these companies offer a membership service which you can call after one too many drinks and they will come to wherever you are and drive you safely home in your own car.

According to customer research conducted by Brandhouse, drivers' greatest fear isn't causing an accident, but is actually getting caught. Using this information, the focus of their latest campaign shows the kind of person you may end up sharing a cell with if you get caught drink-driving. Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Brandhouse, Phumza Rengqe says "Although many people think that drunk driving doesn't make them a bad person, we want them to see that their actions can be bad and they can end up in prison with genuinely bad people." The hard-hitting campaign has already caused some controversy, which in itself is raising awareness of the problem at the same time.

Drinking and driving is a complete social no-no in the UK – if ever I contemplated getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, then the thought of my friends’ total disgust and disapproval is always enough to change my mind. I have heard various excuses over the years such as “Well, we have to drink and drive in SA because we have no public transport!” or “I’m a really good driver so alcohol doesn’t affect me like other people” and really folks, enough is enough. The choices are simple -

•    Drink, but don’t drive
•    Drive, but don’t drink  
•    Call one of these membership services and get home safely.

and with the Festive season in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to use a service like this and I fully intend to do so. After all, if it’s good enough for the Sharks, for South African Breweries and for Bob Skinstad, then it’s good enough for me too. Cheers! 
www.gfellas.co.za    0861 433 552
www.smartguyz.co.za    0861 762 786
www.1fortheroad.co.za    0861 622 642

How will you be getting home this year after a few drinks? Have you tried these drive-home services or do you know of any others? Got a fantastic taxi company you want to share? Tell us all below.


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