Above: From left: Papakura District Council’s road safety co-ordinator Donna Dick, Dylan Horrocks, road policing inspector Heather Wells and Ardmore Marist sports club president Rob Burton. Photo by Imogen Neale from the Papakura Courier.
Announced today, 'Who's Driving?' is a free four page comic by Dylan Horrocks that will be offered to patrons of sports club bars in South Auckland in an effort to cut down on drunk driving accidents. Commissioned by the Papakura District Council, the comic illustrates a young couple trying to get home after a night out. Having had too much to drink, they consider their transport options: drive drunk or find another way home?
"You see countless ads on TV but you do think: `how the hell else am I going to get home?", explained Horrocks to the Papakura Courier. The comic ends with a panel featuring the phone numbers of local taxi companies. It's hoped that the familiar comics format will inform and educate bar patrons on the alternatives to driving intoxicated in a more relaxed, informal manner than previous road safety campaigns. As Horrocks told The NZ Herald, "An advantage with the comic medium is that people are more relaxed when they start reading one and you can reach all kinds of people and tell a story of characters making the right choice."
Council road safety co-ordinator Donna Dick was inspired to use the comics format for this campaign after thinking about how effective cartoons are at communicating information: "We all read comics at some stage of our lives, and having a well-known graphic comic author like Dylan on board means the booklet will be picked up by people outside that target group as well".
About 3000 copies of the comic have been printed and will go to sports clubs in the Papakura and Franklin districts of Auckland, which have been identified as high-risk areas for alcohol-related crashes, as alcohol plays a part in 22 per cent of fatal or serious-injury crashes in those areas. Depending on the feedback, the characters featured in the comic may be used in other road safety campaigns.