29/11/2013 - Permalink

Drive drink-free this Christmas

Related topics: Community / Partner organisations

News from our partners Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia and Warwickshire

Motorists across West Mercia and Warwickshire are today being reminded of the dangers of drink-driving during the festive period.  

With the season of festivities now underway, both forces have joined with councils and other organisations to launch a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the issues around drink-driving.   Motorists are being asked to consider if they could be ‘over the limit?’ before they get in their car to drive this winter.  Most people understand that driving whilst over the legal limit is a criminal offence, but how well do you know the limit?  How many drinks is safe?  How long after are you safe to drive? 

Posters, beermats and other material will be targeted at local pubs and clubs throughout the region, designed to make people think about the consequences of drink- or drug-driving.  There is no foolproof way of calculating how much you can drink and remain under the limit, or knowing how much an individual person can drink and still drive safely. Importantly, you do not know how long any alcohol may be in your body. 

Figures indicate that, over the past 3 years*, 184 people were either killed or seriously injured in West Mercia and Warwickshire following collisions where drink or drugs were recorded as a contributory factor.   An additional 881 suffered slight injuries.  The campaign is designed to reach out to people to raise awareness of what could happen to them if they make the decision to drive after drinking. 

The campaign supports the month-long winter anti-drinkdrive campaign (starting 1 December 2013) by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).  Police forces throughout the UK will be working hard throughout December to make sure the roads are safe for everyone this Christmas, and West Mercia and Warwickshire will certainly be no exception to this.  This anti-drinkdrive campaign forms an important part of their overall Christmas Presence campaign, and more local officers will be out on the streets during this time.  Checks will be made at random locations at any time of the day or night – early in the morning, at lunchtime or during the evening. 

Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager at the Safer Roads Partnership, said:

“It’s great we are able to join forces with our colleagues across both force areas to highlight this important message, through outdoor advertising and social media.  The campaign highlights the possible consequences of what could happen if a person decides to drive under the influence of drink or drugs.  

“There are still people out there who feel they can gamble with drinking and driving, and think they know how much the limit is, but the simple fact is there is only one way of being sure that you are safe to drive, and that is not to drink at all.  Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive.  We would also ask people to consider other options when out drinking over the festive season: public transport, taxis and sharing nominated drivers are easy to arrange – drinking and driving simply isn’t worth the risk.”

Superintendent Lee Davenport for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, commented:

“Cracking down on those who take drugs or drink and then drive is a year-round commitment for both forces.  However, we are very aware the festive season can present opportunities where people are tempted to drive after taking drugs or drinking.  To combat this, extra patrols will be conducted in the run up to and over Christmas and New Year, in a bid to tackle those who commit the unacceptable act of drink- or drug-driving. 

“Worryingly, and despite many warnings over the years about the dangers of drink- and drug-driving, there are still far too many reckless drivers ignoring the devastating consequences.  Alcohol and drugs both affect your ability to judge speed and distances accurately, and slow down your reaction time.  We’re urging people to think hard about the consequences that a collision could lead to.”  

Further information

The Safer Roads Partnership is part of Warwickshire and West Mercia Police and works in partnership with the four local highway authorities in West Mercia (Shropshire Council, Herefordshire Council, Telford and Wrekin Council and Worcestershire County Council); the Highways Agency; HM Courts Service – West Mercia; the two Fire and Rescue Services for Hereford & Worcester and Shropshire; and West Mercia Cluster of Primary Care Trusts. 

* Data collected Nov 2010 – Dec 2012 

For further details of the campaign visit www.over-the-limit.co.uk.