Avoid the ‘mourning’ after: Choose Zero if you’re driving
This is the stark message from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Gloucestershire Police this festive season.
As the winter drink drive campaign launches, drivers are advised to choose zero and avoid the gamble of guessing whether they are under the legal limit or not.
In Gloucestershire during the past five years, 113 people have been killed or seriously injured and a further 263 minor injuries because of drinking or drug driving – and, worryingly, the numbers are increasing.
On local roads, the number of alcohol-related casualties leapt from 49 in 2015 to 92 in 2016; drug driving casualties increased from 13 in 2015 to 25 in 2016, and casualties caused by drivers who had both drink and drugs in their system increased from 57 in 2015 to 106 in 2016.
Based on these figures, someone in the county is injured as a result of a drink drive collision every week. This will be prevented if drivers choose a zero alcohol limit and stick to it.
Time is the only thing that removes alcohol from your system: sleep, coffee and cold showers have no effect on alcohol blood levels. The average adult can process one unit in around an hour, but this varies from person to person.
One unit is roughly equivalent to a 25ml single measure of whisky, a third of a pint of beer or half a 175ml glass of red wine.
Tips for avoiding temptation during the festive season:
- if you’re using public transport, check the times of the last trains and buses and location of nearest station or bus stop
- nominate a designated driver before you head out for the evening
- stick to alcohol-free drinks
- make a note of local taxi numbers, or book ahead
Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue said “At around the legal limit, drivers are ten times more likely to have a crash. Would you want to share the road with someone if they had even had one drink?
“If you drink and drive you gamble your licence, your life and the lives of others. Choosing Zero is the only safe and sensible thing to do, and there could be no finer resolution for the new year too!”
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said “We want everyone to enjoy the seasonal celebrations safely and responsibly. Please remember to offer alcohol-free alternatives to your friends and family if you are hosting a get-together, and beware the morning after.
“You could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even the following morning. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don’t help to sober you up.”
Superintendent Tony Godwin of Gloucestershire Police said “Almost 4000 drivers are convicted of drinking and driving every year, and not only did these irresponsible drivers put themselves and others at risk, they had to face the personal and social consequences.
“According to a leading motoring organisation a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 – £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job.
“Please choose zero alcohol and drugs if you are driving. It could be the best decision you have ever made.”
The campaign will also target drivers who drive or ride under the influence of drugs. Superintendent Godwin confirmed a six-fold increase in the number of people caught drug-driving in the 12 months since the law changed in March 2015, and 54% of drivers tested by the police in the summer campaign tested positive for drugs.