Don’t trip and drive

The UK Department for Transport gets groovy for Glastonbury.

Austin Williams

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The road safety minister shows how hip and groovy he is by launching a new Department for Transport (DfT) campaign, which states that ‘drug driving is not a safe trip’.

David ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ Jamieson MP will be promoting the drug-driving message at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend, to warn the 150,000 ‘revellers’ of the risks of driving when impaired by certain chemical substances. Most attendees, however, will probably have more anodyne concerns to tussle with: like where did they leave their car in the first place, and how to drive with six inches of mud on their boots.

In an effort to engage with ‘young people’, the DfT’s ‘Think!’ website (1) has been revamped so that the graphics represent the hallucinogenic effect of different drugs. You can have fun tracking down your particular interests: cannabis is explained through a haze of smoke, LSD is a multi-coloured blur, and the word cocaine gradually forms out of white powder. It’s a great game – and not all style and no content. Interesting data includes the fact that LSD may induce ‘terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of insanity and death. All of these effects severely reduce you ability to drive’. Phew!

Just in case, in your mind-altered state, you somehow forget to log on to the DfT’s exciting new website, warning signs will litter the Glastonbury fields reminding you of the error of your ways. Cards will also be handed out to car drivers to inform them where to park and, as a footnote, to give a little health warning about the dangers of drug-driving. ‘Speed kills’, or something like that, maybe.

Even though Glastonbury is not an event traditionally known to attract authority-junkies, the festival organisers have put a link on their website to the far snazzier DfT site. While the government gets heavy on hard drugs, the official Glastonbury site warns attendees that ‘If you smoke cigarettes or tobacco be aware that you might be tempted to smoke much more heavily than you usually do, and you may get a sore throat or a cough’. Far out!

Austin Williams is director of the Transport Research Group, technical editor of the Architects’ Journal, and motoring correspondent at the Daily Telegraph. He is a contributor to Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, Wiley-Academy, 2002 (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)); and Carchitecture: When the Car and the City Collide, August/Birkhauser, 2001 (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).

(1) See the Department for Transport’s relaunched Think! website

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