Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership share 50 year journey to reduce drink-driving deaths
Gloucestershire police, fire and rescue service and ambulance service will be sharing stories about how the past 50 years of campaigning has dramatically reduced drink-driving related deaths.
Following the launch of the month-long winter anti drink-drive campaign, on Monday 8th December the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership website and social media accounts will provide a platform for the partners to reflect on the major shift in public attitudes to drinking and driving.
After 50 years of campaigning about the dangers of drink driving, deaths from these accidents have fallen from over 1,600 to 230 annually in England.
One such story is from Malcolm Tomlinson who worked with the ambulance service from 1968 to 2012.
He said; “It was just accepted in years gone by that you could drink and drive. The one thing that sticks in my mind is the horrific facial injuries people used to get from shattered windscreens from cars from the sixties and seventies.
“Thousands of pieces of glass would destroy these pretty young faces. I will never forget that.”
George Rilon, who worked for the police from 1960 – 1995, added; “Everyone would drink and drive in the sixties. I remember being on the A46 near Nailsworth and a car had skidded off in the ice. There was a queue of cars and everyone was desperately smoking cigarettes or eating peppermints trying to disguise the smell of alcohol.”
“If anyone got caught drinking and driving the public were very sympathetic to the drunk-driver and very anti- the police. Now I think that’s the other way around.”
Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for road safety at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The continuous hard work that all the services have put in over the past 50 years is really commendable. Although any accident as a result of drink driving isn’t acceptable, it’s a really positive sign that the numbers are reducing.”
Photo shows: The Ambulance Service, Police and Fire Service representing the past and the future at the launch of the 2014 Winter anti drink-driving campaign: From left to right, retired ambulance driver Malcolm Tomlinson, PC Lucy Smith and retired firefighter Paul Gaze.