Being "Non-Bob": Belgian drunk drivers to receive keyrings with drunk driver victims' names

Bob’s 2021 awareness campaign against the effects of drinking and driving will gift people caught driving under the influence of alcohol in Belgium a keyring bearing the name of a child killed in a road accident.

This new Bob campaign, set up by the Institut Vias and the association Parents d’enfants victimes de la route - PEVR (Parents of children traffic victims), aims at tackling the issue differently than the past editions.

The Bob campaign originated in Belgium, in 1995. The concept spread to neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands in 2006 and Germany in 2007. Bob, the "Bewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder" (deliberately sober driver) has been rewarding sober drivers in Belgium with keyrings for 25 years now. Despite this reliable and long running initiative, the findings of Institut VIAS raises concerns:

  • 12% of Belgian drivers under 35 drive under the influence of drugs at least once a month;

  • 4,210 accidents with fatalities or injuries involved at least one driver under the influence in 2017;

  • The number of accidents due to alcohol is highest on weekend nights.

The new campaign therefore takes the opposite approach and addresses drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs and gives them a “non-Bob” keychain: in the shape of a drunk driver victim’s name. Along with this token, drivers are told the story behind the name on the keychain. They are then offered the possibility to trade it in for a ‘mild intoxication’ traffic course at VIAS.

Photo: © VIAS Non-Bob campaign 2021

The Non-Bob initiative is clear about its drastic change and why it came to be:

"For 25 years responsible drivers have been awarded the honorary 'Bob' title. For 25 years during alcohol checks they have been rewarded with the well-known 'Bob' keyring. However for 25 years, Belgians also have continued to drink and drive. PEVR and VIAS think it is time that irresponsible drivers also get a keyring. A keyring bearing a key message: the name of one of the many children who were killed by intoxicated drivers. Hopefully you won't receive such a keyring during one of the upcoming alcohol checks.”

The initiative was launched shortly after the ninth year of the “Week-end sans alcool au volant” (weekend without alcohol behind the wheel), a weekend during which police presence and control is increased from Friday 18:00 to Monday 06:00.

In Belgium, the maximum allowed blood-alcohol level is 0.5 mg per ml. The alcohol level in breath during a breathalyzer test should not exceed 0.22 mg per litre.

Information about the Bob campaign can be found on the official website, in French and Dutch.

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