Would you help this drunk get into his car?

17 December 2012
, CarsGuide

A hidden camera stunt in the UK revealed that 84 per cent of people would help an obviously drunk person get into their car.

In the secret camera footage, a stumbling actor approaches people and with slurred words asks them to help him unlock his car and get in. The video is part of a campaign launched by consumer insurance watch website Confused.com, aimed at halting people’s apathy about drunk driving – which is estimated to rise over the holiday period.

Confused.com says 84 per cent of people were happy to help the ‘drunk’ into his car, with just eight of the 50 approached refusing – and only one confiscating his keys to prevent him approaching others. A number of other people approached simply ignored the drunk’s request and walked on.

“Over the festive period, thousands of people will threaten the safety of others by making the decision to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol,” Sharon Flaherty, Confused.com’s head of content and PR, said in a statement.

“Our video highlights just how many people are willing to permit drink driving, or turn a blind eye to it. The video is a hopefully shocking way to remind people that drink driving kills and that in many cases, it can be stopped. By preventing friends and family from driving under the influence of alcohol, you could save a life.”

Russell White from the Australian Road Safety Foundation says he was stunned by the secret camera results. “It’s shocking that such a high percentage of people seemed to be willing to help this man simply get into his car,” White says.

“It does raise serious questions about our culture and attitudes. It’s also unbelievable -- given everything we know about drink driving -- that people were prepared to assist this guy get into a car and potentially kill someone. 

The founder of Fatality Free Friday – an organisation dedicated to improving road safety awareness, driver education and reducing the impact of road trauma – White applauds the people who refused to the let ‘drunk’ drive. 

“It must be said that the people who took a stand against this man doing the wrong thing was a good demonstration of positive action. Especially strong action was seen with the man who takes the keys from the actor. We just need more people to take action like that. It comes back to being socially responsible.”

White says he’d like to believe Australians would have behaved differently, but he’s doubtful. “We’d like to think that more of us would take steps to stop this, but it is difficult to say. I fear that it would be a similar result.”

And he has a clear message for the coming holiday period, when more people are likely to be attending parties and functions. “Our message is simple, if you’re planning to drink don’t drive,” White says.  “But there is also a bigger picture issue here as well. We need to get to a stronger culture about looking after each other. Turning a blind eye could turn someone’s life upside down.

“If you’re at a function or a party and you suspect that someone has had too many drinks make sure that they don’t get behind the wheel. I’m sure that anyone who was been affected by a drunk driver would say that they wished someone had done that.”