Campaign highlights dangers of drink and driving over festive period

REVELLERS have been warned not to get the new year off to a bad start by picking up a conviction for drink driving or “ending up as a grim statistic” of the death and injury toll from booze-related accidents.

With preparations to welcome in 2012 on Saturday night getting into full swing, Road Safety GB North East is reminding drivers of its campaign to highlight the dangers of drinking and driving over the festive period.

The organisation distributed a series of hard-hitting posters in the run-up to Christmas to target irresponsible motorists in a bid to reduce accidents and make the North-East’s roads safer.

The thought-provoking images depict situations that law-breaking motorists could find themselves in and highlight the possible consequences of flouting the law.

The posters are part of a joint campaign involving Road Safety GB North-East, which represents local authority road safety officers, bars, pubs, clubs and the Best Bar None initiative.

Paul Watson, Hartlepool Council’s Road Safety Officer and Chair of Road Safety GB North-East, said: “We want to make drivers think twice, so that if they find themselves in a situation that could result in them driving illegally they decide against it.

“The consequences of drink-driving, can be far reaching.

“At best, drivers could end up with criminal records that could seriously impact on their lives.

“The worst case scenario is that they, and possibly other innocent road users, become involved in a serious accident and end up as grim statistics.”

And police are reminding motorists to be particularly aware of the dangers of driving the morning after a night out when they might still be over the limit and could face hefty fines or even be banned from driving if found to be over the drink drive limit.

The Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, which has co-ordinated the annual Christmas and new year drink and drug drive campaign, has reminded drivers that the campaign will continue to run throughout December and into the new year.

It will include the random stop checking of vehicles at all times of the day and night.

Inspector Mick Little, who is also a member of the Cleveland Casualty Reduction Group, said: “During December, officers across both forces will be carrying out random checks on drivers at all times of the day and night in a bid to enforce the law.

“We work all year round to try to get the message across, but some choose to ignore our pleas.

“Drinking alcohol or taking drugs and then driving is totally unacceptable and irresponsible and could result in a fine, a driving ban, serious injuries or even fatalities.”

In addition to the random checks being carried out as part of the drink drive campaign, officers will also target areas which are known for drink-related collisions and drink or drug drive offenders.

Between 2006 and 2010 there have been an estimated 2,674 casualties on roads in the North-East that resulted from a collision involving a suspected drink driver.

Of these casualties, 2,203 were slight, 418 were serious and 53 were fatal.