A road safety campaign has been launched today by the Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia. The campaign highlights the potential consequences of drink or drug driving to young motorists across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin during the Christmas period.
The campaign, called 'The End', uses a story board approach to show how choosing to drive having consumed alcohol or drugs could bring 'The End' to much of what young people take for granted in their lives.
The campaign aims to show that alcohol and drugs impair an individual's ability to drive safely, increasing the risk of them causing a collision and injuring or killing themselves or someone close to them.
Driving while unfit due to drugs is against the law - this applies to illegal and prescribed drugs. Many people are probably unaware of the effects of drugs on their driving ability. Worryingly the use of illegal drugs by the younger generation has been found to be increasing. Nearly half of 16 to 24 year olds in England and Wales are reported as using cannabis at least once and 39% reported to having taken hallucinogens (British Medical Association). According to recent research by Auto Trader 30% of 17-24 year old motorists drink and drive and one in five drive while under the influence of drugs.
The campaign will feature on bus backs, billboards, within pubs and clubs throughout Shropshire and on local radio. The campaign also highlights the impact of being caught drink or drug driving; up to 6 months in prison, a minimum 12 month driving ban, a fine of up to Â£5,000 and a criminal record which could lead to job loss and difficulty finding another job. An endorsement for a drink driving offence remains on a driving licence for 11 years. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum 14 year prison sentence, a minimum 2 year driving ban and a requirement to pass an extended driving test.
One of the campaign adverts shows a young woman being breathalysed driving home the morning after a night out to highlight that people can still find themselves over the legal drink drive limit the following day.
Research indicates young people are confused by how much they can legally drink before driving. The legal limit in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, but there is no failsafe guide as to how this equates to the amount you can safely drink. The amount and type of alcoholic drink, and your weight, sex, age and metabolism will all play their part. The only way to be really sure you are not impairing your driving ability is to not drink any alcohol if you are going to drive.
Steve Chadwick, Road Safety Officer, Shropshire County Council said:
"We are supporting 'The End' campaign this Christmas as we want people to think about what 'The End' represents, the end of much of what young people take for granted in their lives. We want people to think about the consequences of drinking or taking drugs and driving and the consequences of seriously injuring or killing themselves or one of their friends. We are pleased that Shrewsbury Town Football Club are also backing the campaign, together with Beacon Radio who have agreed to run a 'quiz competition' promoting (V.I.P.) tickets as prizes for two home matches at the 'Prostar Stadium' in December"
Cllr Miles Hoskins, Cabinet spokesperson on Transport, Telford & Wrekin Council said:
"While you're going out over the Christmas and New Year period plan how you're going to get yourself home. If you are travelling by car choose someone you can trust not to be impaired to drive you home. Alternatively book a taxi or find out about local public transport. Don't mix drink or drugs with driving - there is always a way to get home safely".
Sergeant John Roberts, from West Mercia Constabulary said:
"Cracking down on those who take drink or drugs and then drive is a year round commitment for West Mercia Constabulary. The Christmas and New Year period can present an opportunity where people may be tempted to drive whilst impaired, this is an irresponsible and anti-social practice which leads to devastating consequences for them, their family, friends and other road users. The message is very simple - if you are drinking at an event or with friends this Christmas don't drive and if you driving then don't drink. Taking illicit drugs is against the law in any case but if you combine it with driving you become a crash waiting for somewhere to happen. It is simply not worth the risk."
Ashley Brown, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said:
"Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are committed to reducing the number of people killed and injured on the roads. We are happy to be taking part in this campaign, in a bid to reduce the number of Road Traffic Collisions this year. We will be displaying printed information in various locations around Shropshire to support the campaign and to bring the messages to as many people as possible."