One for the road won’t hurt – will it?
Every year more than 3,000 people in the UK are killed or injured as a result of crashes on our roads relating to drink–driving, with the numbers predictably spiking over the Christmas period. In 2013 260 people were killed in accidents where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, making alcohol consumption one of the largest threats to the road safety of us all, not helped by peer pressure to party at this time of year.
In 1979 when official records were first compiled, 1,640 people lost their lives as a result of a drink-driver. Since then numbers have been falling almost year on year, helped in no small part by successive, often hard-hitting, government and police advertising campaigns and increasingly tough legislation.
When public information films first highlighted the dangers of drink driving back in 1964, drinking and driving was considered the norm, with no recognised safe limit and no breathalyser testing. In the first ever advert a polite, light-hearted cartoon aimed at the middle-aged party-goer pointed out the likelihood of having an accident after four, six and up to eight whiskies with the simple message `if he’s been drinking, don’t let him drive.’
A range of emotive, often shocking tactics have followed over the years, pulling no punches. This year, with research showing that one in 10 people would consider getting behind the wheel after having two drinks or more, the Department of Transport’s Think! Christmas campaign firmly targets those people who probably don’t consider themselves a high risk – unaware that a second drink can double their chance of a fatal collision.
So with the nation donning its collective gladrags for the office party season, forces across the country are braced for their traditionally hectic festive and New Year period, trying hard to raise awareness of the dangers on our roads and keep people safe as they travel around. It’s a busy time for us at Drivers Direct too with the placing of drivers of all classes for clients who need support either on a temporary, seasonal or more permanent basis.
Even a very small amount of alcohol can affect driving performance and there is no way of knowing how long it will take to sober up completely after a few drinks. In general, people are getting far better at staying away from the wheel at night but too many are quick to jump back behind it after a sleep, unaware that they are still over the limit. One in five people admit to driving the morning after having a lot to drink the night before and nearly one in six convicted drink drivers are caught in the morning.
Don’t take chances. Stay safe, drive safe and have a very Merry Christmas.