Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

PSNI launches festive drink-driving crackdown

A zero tolerance campaign to target drivers who plan to have a drink at Christmas, stay under the limit and get behind the wheel has been launched.

The PSNI will hammer home the message ‘just one drink can kill’ in a crackdown on road safety following an increase in drink-driving last Christmas.

The tougher message comes as figures from a six-week period last Christmas show that 429 people were caught driving over the legal limit — up 65 on 2010.

Head of Operations Branch, Superintendent Mark Purdon, said: “If you find yourself asking the question, ‘I wonder if I’m OK to drive?’ Or if you find yourself trying to calculate if you are under the drink-drive limit, whether that’s after one drink, or the morning after a night out, don’t take the risk. The consequences could be catastrophic.”

Supt Purdon said last Christmas’s drink-driving figures were disappointing. “Considering that some of these people were so drunk they could barely stand up, it just beggars belief some people still insist on attempting to drive after drinking.

“People don’t accidentally have a beer or glass of wine, they make a conscious decision. It only takes one drink to impair your decision-making ability.”

Officers spread the tougher message by handing out advice leaflets to drivers in Lisburn yesterday. The ‘Not Even One’ campaign is part of Operation Season’s Greetings, special measures put in place to keep people safe in the festive period.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood added: “Christmas is a time to get together with family, friends and colleagues.

“It can be tempting to take an unplanned drink, particularly at Christmas parties, and consider driving home. But even small amounts of alcohol impair driving, so thinking that you can have one drink and drive safely isn’t realistic.”

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