Road toll campaign liken drink-drivers to Manson,

The Sun-Herald

Sunday 19 December
DRUNKEN drivers are being compared to the world's worst serial killers in an advertising campaign designed to shock motorists.

In one advertisement the driving licence of 1960s US cult murderer Charles Manson is placed next to that of an Australian fatal drink-driver with the caption: "A killer is a killer. Don't drink and drive."

The campaign has been devised by advertising company Saatchi and Saatchi and comes amid fears that this year's death toll in NSW will top 600.

With two weeks and the holiday period left, 553 people have died on the State's roads this year compared with last year's all-time lowest official toll of 557.

This breaks Premier Bob Carr's deadline that the State would have the safest roads in the world with fewer than 500 deaths a year by 2000.

Harold Scruby, chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said: "This is the worst time of the year for drink-driving. We want to shock people into realising that having a drink and then getting into a car is the same as putting a bullet into a gun.

"A killer is a killer whether they go out with an axe or drink and drive and run someone down. When you look at the result of a murder or a drink-drive accident the victim is still dead and the families are still grieving."

Another advertisement in the series compares the bloody clothing worn by a victim of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to the similarly bloodstained jacket of a drink-drive victim.

People Against Drink Driving NSW director Beverley Lowrey lost her son Andrew to a drink-driver on the Spit Bridge in 1983. The advertisements deeply upset her.

Ms Lowrey said: "But you have to put that to one side and hope that the people who see these terrible ads will stop and think and that perhaps it will prevent someone else being killed."

Mr Scruby said: "Yes, these adverts are shocking and I expect we will be criticised for them, but someone has to stand up and tell people that it is wrong to drink and drive.

"What really disgusts me is when magistrates let people like Susie Maroney off serious drink-driving charges and give people the message that it's OK to drink and drive. If she had committed the same offence in Sweden she would be in jail now.

"Where is the consistency when the Prime Minister's son Tim Howard gets six months' suspension and a $600 fine for half the alcohol level of Susie Maroney. She should have at least double his sentence."

And he questioned how former Liberal minister Michael Yabsley received a "slap on the wrist" for driving with nearly five times the limit of alcohol in his blood.

The tough-talking new campaign follows last month's police blitz on drink-drivers which caught almost 700 motorists over the limit in just three days. Police Traffic Services Commander Ron Sorrenson condemned the "irresponsible behaviour" and admitted people were simply "not getting the message".

This week Senator Ron Boswell, secretary to the Federal Transport Minister, warned of the dangers of drink-driving over the festive season.

Four years ago Mr Carr and NSW Transport Minister Carl Scully vowed to make NSW roads the safest in the world by bringing the annual death. toll below 500. They have failed.

A document released by Mr Scully sets the goal of halving the road toll and saving 2000 lives by 2010.

Charles Manson's California driver's licence (right) is being used in advertisements aimed to curb drink driving alongside the NSW licence of fictional killer motorist Robert Hardy (left).