Road Safety and Substance Abus


Developed countries have issues that accompany development stages as the level of human sophistication advances in tandem with technological progress and, in particular, social spheres. UK cities and other country sides are affected by social problems. Development comes with changes when people cease to do what has been done traditionally at the expense of new trends in order to respond to shifting demands of the current world. This report explores the road safety-based campaign as a problem of developed world countries. It equally covers drug and alcohol-based abuses by drivers in the United Kingdom.

The research has been based on the study of past trends and records on road-based crimes and traffic rule violation. In addition, it covers the past effect of government interventions on curbing traffic problems. There are various non-governmental organizations, which have immensely made significant contributions to ensuring constant sanity by all road users and specifically motorists. The main purpose of this has been to reduce loss, injuries, fatalities, as well as unwarranted destruction of vehicles on roads (Great Britain: H. M. Treasury 2007). These efforts are lauded in order to have low level of mortality on roads. The government via various functional departments such as the Department of Transport enforces on a constant basis all its constitutional mandates with the public interest as the number one priority.

The research scope is limited to effectiveness of the PSAs and anti-substance abuse among drivers in UK urban centres. The report also expounds on the effect of the PSAs on attitude changes among the target audience. The research findings encompassed herein are indubitably the most suited for the government, NGOs, and the general public. The findings have the potential to realign the public by enabling an insightful comparison of statistics and interpretation of the trends to establish whether any progress has been achieved and whether it is factually laudable. This important as it will allow stakeholders to decide whether to carry on or stop. The report can also assist them to identify areas that need adjustment with a view to attaining intended results.

Research Findings and Discussions

Firstly, the research has explored available secondary data on roads safety measures under implementation by the government of the United Kingdom. Secondly, information regarding attitude changes on drugs and alcohol use have been simultaneously taken into account in order to deduce the most explicit and reliable conclusion.

PSA in Driving and Road Accidents

The UK-based PSAs effectiveness cannot be singled out at a particular point in time. It involves majorly non-discrete data elements of a nearly abstract nature. Social transformations and changes in behaviour and attitudes of people are quite subjective such that it is very hard to obtain standard measures to measure all variables. Moreover, it depends on the message communication frequency and on the fact whether messages fully reach targeted individual(s) or no. It is also crucial to note that the target can respond or reply at his/her own discretion. In the transport sector, more information is unveiled. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Road Accidents (RoSPA), Great Britain enjoys one of the best road safety records in the world. Unfortunately, an average of six people dies on British roads daily. According to the RoSPA, current campaigns include light evenings, young drivers, drink-drive, and management of occupational risks campaigns. There are various attempts and campaigns, which aim to curb all forms of accidents by realigning the attitude of drivers and other road users. Therefore, the RoSPA regards the most immediate cause of accidents that is alcoholism as its target with regard to behaviour changes and transformation.

According to the report released by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2011 on the review of the UK and the European Union, data indicated declining trends of accidents in the recent past. The accidents reduced by 2% compared to 2010, registering 203,950 casualties. This was an increase of 3% in road accidents per day from the year 2010. However, earlier records showed that this record followed a 17% fall from the preceding year (RAC Foundation, 2013). The figures also indicated that there was a 2% rise in the number of deaths and the number of people seriously injured, according to the police report between 2010 and 2011. This was the first annual increase since 1994, but lower than 2005-9 average.

The effect of the PSAs can be attributed to reductions in the traffic by users and over-speeding cases. Analysis of road safety management and plans in the UK ranks in bottom 25%, which suggests that slowdown in road safety performance might also be linked to other intervening variables such as nature of systemic planning. Therefore, it would be imprudent to generalise effectiveness of the PSAs. The underlying fact is that the PSAs on road safety and alcohol consumption ads have become effective over time in the UK community. The figure below shows the declining trend of road casualties in Kent in progression to 2020.

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General Road Users

Most of the UK road users are diverse in their use of transport facilities, for instance, horses, motorcycles, cyclists, and skaters. It is worth noting that elements that trigger concern for personal safety can be influenced by various elements. The individual’s psychological state and rational state can be destabilised by substances such as drugs, stress levels, fatigue, and factors beyond personality such as mechanical faults. Of all these factors, the easiest to deal with is probably alcohol and drugs. This is because a driver can choose to avoid them, especially when he/she is about to drive. A study indicated that motorcycling accounts for just 1% of road accidents, but 19% of road user deaths. A direct effectiveness due to the PSA indicates that efforts have had positive effects on motorists, for instance, they begin to anticipate actions of others and become alert and observant. They can also slow and halt if the unanticipated occurs. Moreover, drivers are also able to position themselves in the safest and best places on the road, which consequently enhances their visibility of potential hazards. Lastly, cyclists try to take ‘life saver’ glances over their shoulders and are able to know others’ positions, as well as their actions (UK Statistics Authority 2013).

PSA in Reducing Alcohol or Drug-Related Road Accidents

In considering whether there is a relationship between PSA and reduction of alcohol abuse by drivers, the figures indicate an inverse relationship. This phenomenon, alternatively put, shows that increased awareness translates into individual attitudes change for the better of the society (Shen 2010). Various messages with assertions of consequential tragic ends for a perpetrator as well as lawful intervention by the relevant government wing has to some given degree served to prevent a number of accidents by sealing loopholes in the mode of conduct and behaviour of users, especially with regard to alcohol abuses (UK Statistics Authority 2013 ).

According to the auditor of the general report of Ireland (2014), drink-driving and speed are the two leading causes of road deaths in the United Kingdom. A PSA/ PIF review confirms figures, under which law enforcement agencies such as the police and campaigns to achieve top mind awareness of the law aggression against traffic offenders in the UK have been confirmed as partly responsible for declining trends in alcohol abuse by road users. According to a road safety strategy by the Irish auditor general, the UK ranks at par with countries such as Australia, the Netherlands, and Sweden, but above Ireland since the UK has consistent and effective PSAs as compared to Ireland. The police acknowledge the need to understand better how much drink-drive laws are contributing to public perceptions, attitudes, behaviour, and reduced fatalities and injuries due to alcohol impaired driving.

PSA and Drug Access: A Comparative Trend Study

According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies (2013), the law against drinking and driving provides a Blood Alcohol Concentration limit [BAC] of 0.8 milligrams of ethanol per millimetre of blood as indicated in the Roads Safety Act of 1967. These are followed by prosecutions and charges that result into an individual being behind bars.

Other actions relate to drug abuse in general. In regard to anti-alcohol campaigns, the levels have subsided. Excess drinking and driving greatly increase the risk of injury to all road users. Due to campaigns and law enforcement actions, there has been a steady decline in the number of drink-drive accidents. Consequently, measures have been laid down by the UK government to further lower casualties and fatalities for all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians (Becker, Vath, Eisenberg & Meischke 1999). This encompasses introduction of policies such as the high risk offered scheme, a series of state sponsored anti-drink and drive campaigns, and proposals, which confer upon the police’s indiscriminate powers to breathalyse all drivers and riders at the roadside (Institute of Alcohol Studies 2013).

The general public is diverse in its mode of operation. However, demographic characteristics of the UK indicate an aspect of heterogeneity among road users. The section of drivers with alcohol consumption patterns is relatively higher for men compared to women (Government of UK &DfT 2013). Consequently, traffic law offence rates of men are the highest in the population. The issue-based ads are thus effective when targeting more men than taking a generalized approach to communicating road safety measures. This should not be construed as alienation of a section of the population from the constitutional right to information access. The rest of road users should be informed to keep vigil while driving to avoid being hit by an individual with high ethanol content in blood.


The research findings, especially in regards to alcohol use, are absolutely effective since they have positively contributed to the UK government’s efforts to reduce the amount of road-related deaths. They may be hard for users, but they have a significant influence on road users’ attempts to reduce accidents. Awareness campaigns inevitably affect road usage as they result in users’ positive attitudes and subsequent adoption of careful attitude as far as road safety measures are concerned. A critical approach to the aspect of psychological effect of Road Safety PSAs campaigns does not really offend people. This is due to the fact that road accidents are real and accident scenes are always absolutely horrendous. Nevertheless, any campaign on the attempt to lower alcohol consumption rates seems to be relatively provocative (Shen 2010). The UK-based Institute of Alcohol Studies (2013) reveals that, despite the campaigns, the rate of decline is slow while the UK police’s report on the compliance of road users is positive. It is morally justified to have road safety campaigns as well as reduce levels of drugs and substance abuse.

Recommendations on PSA Effectiveness

The research has explicitly explored some PSA campaigns on road safety and general messages to citizens to unravel underlying situations as far as public attitude is concerned. Based on the findings and conclusions in this study, the following recommendations are made:

  • More campaigns should be improved to keep abreast with the level of public awareness and curb chances for more road accidents to occur;
  • Stakeholders in conjunction with the government should conduct continuous survey programs, which are the most effective for reaching out to the target audience with the utmost precision;
  • Additional research should be done first on groups of citizens negatively affected by the PSAs, which should be studied to determine if issue-based ads affect other aspects of their lives;
  • Individuals who claim to be hard hit are not necessarily victims. However, any available and effective avenues can be explored to minimise complains about such issue-based ads;
  • Educative PSA campaigns should be initiated to win support of the general public by helping with consensus building as far the country safety is concerned;
  • Public diversity in expressing dissatisfaction on the role of the PSA can provide a lee way to carry out further analysis to elicit more social-based issues and thereafter advance their courses;
  • All communication tools, media, including both print and electronic media, and other communication channels should be maximally explored in order to reach a wider audience. Benefits of the wider audience reach will confer immeasurable progress to improve efforts for reducing road accidents and, most importantly, cutting down mortality rates beyond the current levels.
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