Your Hump-Day Recess: An Anti-Drunk Driving Sign From India Recalls Bygone American Days

Brevity is the soul of wit, and simplicity is essential to any kind of clever publicity campaign. In the wild, mountainous region of Ladakh in northern India, the Himank Project builds roads to keep lines of communication open in extremely tough terrain. And the project marks its accomplishment not with triumphal plaques but humorous road signs designed to remind the region’s drivers to drive safely.

As you might assume, our favorite among these concerns drunk driving.

india-dui-ad

You might be reminded of an earlier road safety campaign accomplished through rhyme: the Burma Shave Campaign. From the 1920s to the 1960s, signs on American roads instructed drivers to clean up their act through some engaging verses:

THE ONE WHO DRIVES WHEN HE’S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU TO DO HIS THINKING.

The signs of the Himank Project are not as plentiful as the old Burma Shave signs, but a little bit of humor is always welcome on the road, especially if it sends a worthwhile message.

AROUND THE BEND / GO SLOW FRIEND

BETTER MR. LATE THAN LATE MR.

DARLING I LIKE YOU BUT NOT SO FAST

Speed is the most warned-against infraction in this northernmost area of India, with its snowy, steep and treacherous roads. But drunk driving is a serious problem as well, one that contributes to India’s status as the country with the highest number of road deaths in the world, some 140,000 last year. Despite a legal blood alcohol limit of .03, comparatively low by world standards, the government estimates that 70% of its road deaths are alcohol-related. Penalties for drunk driving include fines and imprisonment, but not ignition interlocks.

It took America many years to get control of its drunk driving problem. Doubtless India will get there at its own speed. In America it began with awareness and memorable verse on road signs – maybe it’ll work that way in India too.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.
Previous Hump Days: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, the world’s worst traffic jams, a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, the world’s worst car modification, Vince and Larry, our favorite crash test dummies, some excellent Soviet anti-drunk-driving posters. a lesson on how buzzed driving can ruin your love life, South Australia to Drunk Drivers: Grow Up!, a woman calls 911 to report herself for DUI, Felix the Cat and Drunk Driving,  DUIs who crash vintage cars – (ouch!), Woman Unwittingly Creates Self-Driving Car, Drunk Driving, Chainsaws and Weird Ads, and A Brilliant PSA from Australia.