Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett today called on football fans to give drink driving the red card during this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament.
The Pools boss is giving his backing to a campaign by Road Safety GB North East which aims to to raise awareness about the dangers of the offence and reduce accident and casualty figures during the football tournament.
Go and have a good time with your friends, but take a taxi home. Don’t ruin your life or possibly someone else’s by making a stupid mistake.Craig Hignett
It is hoped that it will persuade drivers to leave their cars at home when they enjoy a few drinks while watching the games, which start on June 10 – and to make sure they are not over the limit the following morning.
As part of the drink drive message, Road Safety GB North East has materials for use during the tournament, including a Euro 2016 game planner, sweepstake and score predictor.
Between 2011 and 2015, 42 people were killed on the North East roads due to a suspected drink driver, 263 were seriously injured, and a further 1,424 were slightly injured.
In 2015 alone, 70 people were killed or seriously injured – the highest number for five years.
In Hartlepool there were 52 people injured and no deaths, 11 people were seriously injured and 41 had slight injuries.
County Durham has the worst record for drink driving accidents in the region, with 20 deaths, 70 serious injuries and 364 with slight injuries.
Craig said: “Everyone wants a good night out and to enjoy the football during the tournament, but please be sensible.
“Go and have a good time with your friends, but take a taxi home. Don’t ruin your life or possibly someone else’s by making a stupid mistake.”
And Curtis Fleming, who is first team coach at Victoria Park, added: “Sometimes taking the car is just the easy option.
“A two-minute drive is a five-minute walk.
“If you get into the driving seat of a car after drinking, you are getting into a machine that could kill someone. It’s not worth it.”
Road Safety GB North East say the campaign is being launched to coincide with the tournament because alcohol consumption was expected to rise sharply.
Chairman Paul Watson said: “We don’t want to put a dampener on the party spirit – we know everyone is going to be getting behind England and getting together with friends and family to watch the games during the coming weeks.
“We simply want people to plan beforehand and arrange a taxi or lift home. Don’t take the car.
“Remember, you don’t have to be drunk to be a dangerous drink driver.”
New figures show that June is one of the worst months of the year for recording serious and fatal drink drive accidents, and that almost half of accidents involving alcohol occur on Saturdays and Sundays.
Paul added: “It takes an average of one hour for a unit of alcohol to pass through your body, so a pint of beer will take almost two-and-half hours to wear off, as will a large glass of wine.
“Remember, the majority of drinks amount to more than one unit.
“If you are drinking for a prolonged period until the early hours, chances are you won’t be legally fit to drive the next morning.
“Be responsible and let’s remember the tournament for all the right reasons.”
To download copies of the Euro 2016 wall planner, sweepstake and score predictor, go to http://bit.ly/1TDzxa4.
For more information about Road Safety GB North East and the campaign go to www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/regions/r3.html.