Are you Bob?

The yearly Bob campagne is getting up to speed again. He's the designated driver at parties who does not drink alcohol. In 1995 the Belgian Institute for Traffic Safety switched from very repressive campagne towards the fun Bob campagne to promote the alcohol-free designated driver idea. They stress the fun aspect: "choose a Bob and let the party start", "Being Bob is fun and cool and makes you popular". Everyone who passed an alcoholtest got a Bob keyhanger and they became a hype. Fairly quickly "being Bob" became a new expression. The succesful campaign has truly triggered a mentality change in Belgium. Whereas drunk driving was more or less still socially accepted in the 80ies, it is not anymore. Nowedays it is comon to arrive at a dinner party and the hosts asking "who is Bob tonight" so they know where to put the water bottle nearby. I think originally Bob actually stands for something like "bewust onalcoholische bestuurder" (concious unalcoholic driver), but now it's just a term on its own. Everyone can be Bob.

From 2001, Bob became an export product and the campaign is currently used in 17 European countries. In the Netherlands it is a verb: Do you Bob or do I Bob? I hope the campaigns are just as good and effective elsewhere as they have been in Belgium.

Unfortunately there are always people that do not want to learn. People who do not think. People who take risks. For Belgium I kinda have the feeling we've come to a standstill. Everyone knows that at year-end there are police controls everywhere so everybody watches out. But what for the rest of the year? You only need one drunk driver to cause tragedy!

Are you going to be Bob these holidays? I'll drink alcohol....and sleep over at the location of the parties :-). What about you?


anno said…
To Bob... hmmm.. intransitive verb? I love it! Hadn't heard of this campaign before, but it sounds like an excellent idea.
Jenn in Holland said…
You're right, it's a common expression around here nowadays. When you show up to a party the BOB proudly declares himself/herself. I think it's great. Especially since this is what my husband spent the first part of his law career doing--prosecuting drunk drivers--it's nice to see such an active campaign. Like you said, it only takes one drunk driver to create a complete tragedy!
I don't drive here at all, but have been very grateful for the BOB's at the places I've been to see other partiers safely home.
Luckily, we don't have to worry about that at all on the ship!
Wholly Burble said…
I LIKE it! I've always lived an hour's drive to anywhere I've worked, so when I'd go to after-work affairs, and evening outings, I never had a drop of anything--after-all, I was my own Bob!

Now I'm usually Bob for everyone else--habit. But here in the USA, I haven't heard designated driver called Bob--we MUST get it started here IMMEDIATELY I think it's great.

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