Over one million people admit that they drink drive once a week(1), according to figures released to mark the launch of this year’s ‘Designated Driver’ Christmas campaign by Coca-Cola. One in seven drivers confessed to occasionally getting behind the wheel thinking that they had had  too much to drink – although a fifth of people did say they are less likely to drink drive at Christmas than at other times of the year.

The survey also found that the vast majority of people are unaware that there are no official guidelines on the amount of alcohol that can legally be consumed before getting behind the wheel – just 5% of those questioned answered this correctly. On average, respondents thought that there was a suggested limit of 2.3 units of alcohol that you could drink and still be safe to drive; in fact, current Government advice is to avoid alcohol if you are driving, as the legal limit depends on a range of factors, including age, weight, gender, metabolism and what you’ve eaten recently.

This year marks the sixth year that Coca-Cola has run the Designated Driver campaign, in partnership with the Department for Transport’s THINK! road safety campaign, which lets designated drivers enjoy a “buy one, get one free” offer on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero as they celebrate the festive period in local pubs and bars. 60% of respondents said that they sometimes act as the designated driver on a night out, but, despite there being no ‘safe’ limit, one in six still consume alcohol before driving friends and family home.

Jon Woods, General Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland, said: “Designated drivers play a vital role in making sure the roads are safe for everyone. As we know that it’s safer not to drink at all before getting behind the wheel, Coca-Cola is rewarding all designated drivers with free drinks so that they can celebrate the festive period and help to get their friends and family home safely.”

The survey also shows that people are less likely to drink drive than in the past, showing that the Government’s ‘THINK!’ campaigns are having an effect. Over half of those questioned said they were more likely to drive whilst knowingly over the limit than a decade ago, a number that increases to over three-quarters of people living in the countryside.

Road Safety Minister, Robert Goodwill, said: “Most people know that drinking and driving is wrong and don’t do it, but sadly there are some who still do. Anyone tempted to have a tipple at Christmas time before climbing behind the wheel should know they face some very serious consequences. Not only will you lose your licence but, if you rely on your car for work, you will potentially lose your job or wreck your chance of future employment.”

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, British Beer and Pub Association said: “It’s great to see Coca-Cola once again supporting this campaign. The Great British pub is at the heart of all our Christmas celebrations, so having a designated driver means people can get in the party spirit knowing they can have a safe journey home.”

The survey found that men are twice more likely than women (21% to 10%) to drink when the designated driver with the most common reasons for drink driving given as:

  • Feeling sober even though over the limit (33%)
  • Only travelling a short distance (24%)
  • Only travelling on very quiet roads (20%)

The survey also reveals a split between rural and urban dwellers when it comes to attitudes to drink driving. Three times as many rural dwellers* think the legal limit is too low, compared to those in cities (18% compared to 6%)* and twice as many people in the countryside have drunk driven because they are on quiet roads compared to those in towns (33% compared to 16%).
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* Statistics rural dwellers are based on small sample sizes – rural figures are drawn from 42 respondents.

For further information, images or interview requests please contact:

Helen Davison
Tel: 020 3542 1120
Email: helen.davison@theopen-road.com 


The Designated Driver campaign will run for three weeks from 9th to 31st December 2013 in over 8,000 pubs and venues up and down the country, as part of an ongoing partnership with the Department for Transport’s THINK! road safety campaign. The buy one, get one free offer will be at the discretion of individual venues.

Designated Driver is part of Coca-Cola’s work, as the world’s largest non-alcoholic drinks company, to build a responsible drinking culture, as well as helping people have a safe and enjoyable festive period.

The Designated Driver Campaign is a key feature of Coca-Cola Great Britain’s overall commitment to responsible marketing. More information about Designated Driver can be found here: www.coca-cola.co.uk/designated-driver

About the survey:

Populus interviewed 2,019 GB adults online between 6 and 7 November 2013. Results have been weighted to be representative of all GB adults. 

1. In the 2011 census, it was estimated that there are 48.4 million adults. 76% of survey respondents said they own a UK driving licence = 36.78m adults. 3% of respondents with a UK driving licence said they drink drive once a week = 1.1m adults

About Coca-Cola Great Britain:

Coca-Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 21 brands and over 100 products to consumers across Great Britain, with a focus upon developing new brands and extending existing brands including Coca-Cola (recognised as the world’s most valuable brand).  Other Coca-Cola Great Britain brands include Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Oasis, Glaceau vitaminwater, Oasis, Schweppes, 5 Alive, Lilt, Kia Ora, Relentless Energy Drink and Powerade. The Coca-Cola Great Britain portfolio is worth £2,095 million with value sales growth of 4.8% in the past year.  Within this, the My Coke trilogy (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero) is worth £1,162 million (Nielsen, w/c 20/04/13).  Coca-Cola Great Britain is committed to developing innovative, responsible and sustainable initiatives that help protect the environment.  Recently, the company launched its PlantBottle™ plastic made from up to 22.5% plant-based materials. For more information about Coca-Cola in Great Britain, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.co.uk

About the THINK! Drink Driving campaign:

The number of people killed in drink drive accidents has been reduced by over three-quarters since 1979 thanks to more than 30 years of Government education campaigns and measures to improve enforcement. However, drink driving is still a problem and 280 people lost their lives in drink drive accidents on Britain’s road in 2012.

The Department for Transport’s THINK! Drink Driving campaign has had a long-standing and well supported partnership with the on-trade and soft drinks industry. The THINK! campaign aims to support the designated driver through the provision of promotional offers and ‘rewards’, linked to the purchase of soft drinks, on their night out. Coca-Cola GB is leading the way for Christmas 2013.