Police warn about the dangers of drink driving

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DRIVERS across Warwickshire being reminded of the dangers of drink driving during the festive period.

With the season of festivities now underway both forces have joined with other partnerships, local authorities and police forces across the Midlands region to launch a huge 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 Warwickshire 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.

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.

Figures indicate that, over the past 3 years, 7 people lost their lives in Warwickshire and 94 people were seriously injured following collisions where drink or drugs were recorded as a contributory factor. In addition a further 451 people 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 drink drive campaign (starting 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 Warwickshire will certainly be no exception to this. This Drink Drive 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, says: “It’s great we are able to join forces with our colleagues across the Midlands 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.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Richard Hobbs, portfolio holder for community protection said: “The ‘Over the Limit’ campaign shows how a drink driving conviction can affect your life, your job, family and social life.

“People continue to gamble with the drink drive limit, but the only way to be sure that you are safe to drive is not to drink at all. If you want to enjoy a drink, plan how you are going to get home without driving such as by using public transport, taxis or sharing a nominated driver. Remember also that you can still be over the limit well into the next day so you may need to plan an alternative way of getting to work the next morning.”

Superintendent Lee Davenport for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police comments: “Cracking down on those who take drugs or drink and then drive is a year round commitment for Warwickshire and 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. We’re urging people to think hard about the consequences that a collision could lead to.”