One in six fatal crashes involves a driver who is over the drink drive limit and even the smallest amount of alcohol in our blood can dangerously affect our driving. That’s the message from Kent County Council’s Road Safety Team as it launches its Winter Drink Drive Campaign.
Driving after just one drink can double the chances of having a car crash, and getting behind the wheel at twice the legal limit makes drivers 30 times more likely to cause a crash. With no accurate measure, other than the police breathalyser, the message this year is clear; if you are driving, don’t drink; if you are drinking, don’t drive.
Between 2009 and 2013, 281 people were injured or killed in drink driving related crashes on Kent’s roads. In 2013’s winter alone, 89 individuals were killed or seriously injured because of drink drivers.
Spelling out the dangers of drinking then driving, Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said, “Drink driving wrecks lives. Drivers must understand that they do not have to be drunk to be dangerous, and that any amount of alcohol can have an effect on their reaction times and ability to drive safely.
“So if you’re driving this winter think, is one drink worth it?”
Steve Horton, Kent County Council’s Road Safety Team Leader, said, “The action of one drink driver can not only have an impact on their own life, but on the lives of others. The decision to drive under the influence of alcohol could change lives forever; it could lead to a driving ban and a prison sentence, but worse still, a serious crash. I urge everyone to act responsibly this winter, particularly around Christmas and the New Year, by planning their journeys to avoid driving with any alcohol in their system.”
“There is no way to be sure whether you are over the legal drink-drive limit or not, unless you breathe into a police breathalyser. One drink may be too many, so if you are driving, do not drink. If you are drinking, do not drive.
Kent Police are running Operation Wren during the month of December to focus on and target the use of Drink or Drugs whilst driving.
Inspector Sam Pearson, Roads Policing Unit, Kent Police, said “We would urge people to plan ahead before having a night out. If you are going to have some alcohol then keep some money aside for a taxi home, or nominate a driver in your group of friends who will not drink at all. It is just not worth the risk of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when you have alcohol in your system. Every year innocent motorists and pedestrians are put at risk from people who think it is acceptable to drive when under the influence of alcohol; this campaign is about telling people it is not acceptable. My officers tackle this type of offence all year round, but we will have a particular focus during December and the Christmas period.”
Alexa Kersting-Woods, road safety and safeguarding manager at Kent Fire and Rescue Service said, “Joining forces with our colleagues across Kent to communicate such a vital message is crucial at any time of year. The aim is to highlight the devastating consequences that can happen if a person decides to drive under the influence of drink and to ask the question – is it worth the risk?”
“There are still people who feel they can gamble with their lives and others’ lives by getting behind the wheel. Many believe 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 – don’t drink at all. Any amount in your system affects your ability to drive.
All too often we attend road crashes that have life-changing impacts on families. Please keep yourself, your family and others safe – not just across the festive period, but always.”
Medway Council’s Principal Road Safety Officer, James Sutton says “As drivers we are constantly demanded to make choices every time we get behind the wheel of our car, as it is those decisions that get us and others from A to B safely. Our ability to make these safe and sound decisions will be affected under the influence of ANY amount of alcohol.
The message is simple – make sober and safe choices to get yourself and others home to their loved ones. Plan your journey home before you go out and say no to driving or being driven home under the influence of any amount of alcohol.”
The campaign will be publicised widely through local media, social media, in pubs and clubs on beer mats, bar runners, washroom mirror clings and posters. Detailed information about drink driving, including the ‘morning after’ effect, is available on a dedicated website, www.isonedrinkworthit.co.uk.