Never drink and drive.
That’s the Department of Infrastructure’s simple message for motorists during the festive season.
The department’s road safety team and the police force launched their Christmas campaign yesterday (Thursday).
Member for highways Leonard Singer MHK said: ‘During the campaign period last year, 16 people were charged with drink driving, an increase over the previous year.
‘Far too many people still seem to think it is worth the risk to get behind the wheel after a drink.
‘Our campaign this year reminds them that the consequences of drinking and driving can include arrest and prosecution, a prison sentence, and being involved in a collision, which can shatter the lives of your passengers and innocent victims, let alone risking your own life.
‘Drink-drivers also risk being banned from driving, paying massive fines and losing their jobs.’
Posters with the slogans ‘From G&T to A&E’ and ‘From Ale to Jail’ will be displayed across the island and Christmas cards including a bus timetable and phone numbers for taxi firms will be handed out.
The information will be available to download from.gov.im/festiveantidrinkdrive
Superintendent Kevin Willson said: ‘This year’s campaign involves more patrols being in the right place at the right time with a view to deterring drink drivers.
‘There will be increased high visibility patrols on all our roads, as well as the use of covert vehicles installed with video recording equipment and an increased use of social media to ensure a greater awareness and understanding of the campaign and the issue of drink driving generally.’
He added: ‘We are particularly concerned about the early morning drink driver who heads to work or elsewhere after a party or similar event still unfit to drive.
‘It is really important that people think carefully about how they get about the morning after the night before and make appropriate plans.
‘There is no excuse for motorists to drive while affected by alcohol, there is always another option. Enjoy the festive season, but please drive safely and responsibly.’
• It is a fallacy to believe that drinking coffee, eating, sleeping or showering helps you sober up more quickly.
• There is no fail-safe guide as to how much a person can drink to remain under the permitted limit.
• Alcohol reduces the ability to see distant objects: night vision can be reduced by 25 per cent and reaction time can be reduced by more than 30 per cent.
• For young people the accident risk increases after one drink.
After two drinks the risk doubles and after five drinks it can increase tenfold.