How the gift of a lift could save lives this Christmas as police backs awareness campaign

One of the greatest presents you could give this Christmas is the gift of a lift.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 7:54 am

And motorists across the region are being urged to take turns as designated driver this Christmas in a bid to reduce the number of drink and drug driving incidents as part of a campaign by Road Safety GB North East.

The overall number of drink and drug driving casualties has fallen by 17% in the five years between 2014 and 2018 – but the number of fatalities and people seriously injured has not followed suit.

In 2014, 56 people were killed or seriously injured, and in 2018 the number was 71. Those figures peaked at 81 in 2015.

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Will you give the gift of a lift this Christmas?

Paul Watson, chairman of RSGB NE, said people should go out and have a great time – but plan their transport beforehand.

He continued: “At Christmas, people are very good at planning where to go, who they should go with, and what they will wear, but often they give very little thought to how they are going to get home afterwards.

“We are urging people to arrange a taxi beforehand, sort a lift, or better still, be the designated driver and stay sober.

“By sticking to soft drinks and offering to drive, you will be giving your friends and family a great gift this Christmas.”

Cleveland and Durham Roads Policing Unit has reminded the public that they could still be over the drink and drug drive limit the morning after a party.

It takes roughly one hour for one unit of alcohol to leave the body – with many drinks accounting for two or three units.

Temporary Strategic Roads Policing Inspector Darren Breslin said: “We want to appeal to drivers not to take the risk this Christmas and New Year.

“Drivers also need to be aware of the increased detection rate of drug driving; there has been a year on year increase in positive drug swipes throughout the country.

“Cleveland and Durham officers continue to take a positive approach to any person found drug driving, the risks involved with drug driving are no different from those who choose to drink and drive.”