"Death rides with the drinking driver” has been cited in print since 1935 and was one of the first slogans against drinking and driving. The slogan achieved popularity in the late 1930s, but is mostly forgotten today.
26 September 1935, Hartford (CT) Courant, “Alcohol and Gasoline: The Sale of Liquor Today Is Called Illogical” by Mrs. L. O. Haskins, pg. 12:
Death rides with the drinking driver.
29 January 1936, Woodland (CA) Daily Democrat, “Crusade Against Drinking Drivers Given Approval,” pg. 5, col. 2:
In San Francisco the local police did a fine piece of work putting poster on light poles, “Death rides with the drinking driver” and “If you drive—don’t drink.”
(Letter by Laura L. Oxley—ed.)
30 March 1936, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Davisboro Pupils Present Exercises on Temperance Day,” pg. A2:
The W. C. T. U. of Davisboro, had offered first and second prizes to the high school students who wrote the best theme on the following subject: “Death Rides with the Drinking Driver.”
8 December 1938, Morning Sun (IA) News-Herald, pg. 5, col. 6:
Mrs. Ida Chisholm, representing the Wapello union, presented a good looking road sign to be set up on some highway near Morning Sun. The sign reads: “Death Rides with the Drinking Driver” on one side and on the other side “A Friendly Glass May Cause an Unfriendly Crash.”
Science Problems for Junior High School
Volume 8, Book 2
By Wilbur L. Beauchamp, John C. Mayfield and Joe Young West
Chicago, IL: Scott, Foresman
Some highway signs say, “Death rides with the drinking driver.” Explain why this is a true statement.
18 December 1956, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pg. 8, col. 8:
The Cleveland Safety Council says: “Don’t mix the throttle and the bottle!” Death rides with the drinking driver.
2 February 1967, Janesville (WI) Daily Gazette, “Voice of the People: The Problems of Drinking,” pg. , col. 7:
More than one-half of fatal highway accidents are due to drinking. “Death rides with .the drinking driver” is more than a safety slogan. It has become a terrible, tragic fact.
(Letter by Mrs. H. E. Hockerman—ed.)
Google News Archive
1 January 1972, Baltimore (MD) Afro-American, “Don’t Be A Statistic” (editorial), pg. A-4, col. 1:
Regardless of the old saying, “Death rides with the drinking driver,” tragedies will occur without fail.