Drive Drink free this Christmas

The Safer Roads Partnership are today warning people of the dangers of drink driving during the festive period. With the season of festivities now underway the Partnership, together with West Mercia Police and other agencies, will be raising awareness of the consequences of drinking and driving.

The Partnership will be joining forces with other partnerships, local authorities and police forces across the Midlands region to launch a huge publicity campaign to raise awareness of the issues.

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 driving under the influence. Outdoor advertising will also be used in key places across the region. At the heart of the activity will be a series of online Blogs and videos of five everyday characters who unwittingly take a risk. It will build on last years successful ’Amy’s Story’ campaign, in which a moving blog described how a young woman became a drink driver and criminal because she drove the morning after a party. The campaign also embraces a relatively new form of technology to reach a wider audience who will be able to access the web-based films using Quick Response (QR) codes on smart phones.

Figures from the Safer Roads Partnership indicate that, over the past 3 years*, 38 people lost their lives in West Mercia and 172 were seriously injured following collisions where drink or drugs were recorded as a contributory factor. 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 drink drive campaign launched today (1st December) 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 will certainly be no exception to this. This Drink Drive campaign forms an important part of the overall Christmas Presence campaign and more local officers will be out on the streets during this time.

Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager at the Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia, says:
“It’s great we are able to join forces with our colleagues in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire 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.

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. We would also ask people not to get into a car as a passenger if they suspect that the driver has been drinking or taking drugs. We realise that this can sometimes be difficult but would urge people to make the safe decision - it’s not worth risking your life for.”

Superintendent Lee Davenport of West Mercia Police comments: “Cracking down on those who take drugs or drink and then drive is a year round commitment for West Mercia. 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 drinking or drug driving.”

“Worryingly, and despite many warnings over the years about the dangers of drink/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. If you are tempted to drive under the influence of drink or drugs this Christmas then spare a thought for your family and friends and think hard about what you will put them through if you are badly hurt or killed in a crash.”

2nd December, 2011