Devon and Cornwall Police launch annual drink driving campaign

By Richard Harding   |   Kingsbridge and Ivybridge reporter   |
Thursday 2nd December 2021 4:50 pm
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Devon & Cornwall Police has launched its Lift Legend Christmas drink drive campaign, with over 110 licenced premises set to offer soft drinks to those who give free lifts home to friends and family after a night out.

The initiative runs to Saturday January 1 2022 and is a modern approach to the annual Christmas campaign.

On the purchase of their first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have their second free of charge at participating venues.

During the month-long operation officers will be raising awareness of the inherent dangers involved in drink driving by encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions this Christmas.

Breath tests will also be requested from all drivers who commit a moving road traffic offence, irrespective of whether or not they’re suspected a drink driving offence.

Officers will also be carrying out intelligence-led fixed site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, of the roads policing team, said: “It is vital we do all we can to ensure anyone on a night out is able to get home safely. Our new initiative aims to encourage those heading out for the night to plan who is going to be their Lift Legend.

“Despite long-term reductions, drink and drug driving still accounts for 15 per cent of road deaths and almost 10,000 casualties nationally each year.

“During last year’s Christmas campaign, officers in Devon and Cornwall carried out 1,348 breath tests and charged 163 people with a drink drive-related offence.

“Alongside the Lift Legend education campaign, officers will be out in force rigorously targeting those who are a danger on our roads, day or night.

“It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t seek out lifts from those you don’t know or who aren’t licenced such as through social media networks. Only get into a vehicle with someone you know and trust.

“Alcohol and drugs impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving; reaction times and spatial awareness are affected significantly. This may still be the case the morning after, depending on how much alcohol is consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking.

“If police think you are unfit to drive through consumption of alcohol, even if your breath test registers lower than the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, you can still be arrested and may be charged with an offence. In short, you do not have to be drunk to be a drink driver. Don’t risk it.

“It’s not just you that’s at risk. You could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoiding this happening is as simple as planning ahead, leaving the car at home, and using a taxi, public transport or designated driver to get home.”

St Austell Brewery is getting behind the campaign across its 38 venues across Devon and Cornwall. Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of St Austell Brewery, said: “It’s incredibly important to us that our customers across the South West are able to enjoy themselves and celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, whether they’re driving to our sites or not.

“Pubs are the heart of responsible socialising, so we’re delighted to be taking part in the Lift Legend campaign throughout the festive season. What better way to reward those who are driving their friends and family than with a soft drink, mocktail or alcohol-free beer or cider on the house?”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is chairman of the Vision Zero South West board as well as the national APCC lead for road safety.

Commissioner Hernandez said: “Drink driving is completely unacceptable – it puts the driver, passengers and innocent members of the public at substantial risk. Those found guilty of this crime face losing their license and even going to prison, which could cost you your job and livelihood.

“This doesn’t just apply to people who are on a big night out, those driving the morning after a few drinks could also unexpectedly be over the limit and unfit to drive.

“The good news is there have never been more alternatives to drinking and driving. Jump in a taxi, Uber, bus, train or call a friend or relative for a lift. There’s also a huge variety of great-tasting, non-alcoholic drinks available so why not ditch the booze and be a Lift Legend for the night?

Please don’t make this Christmas a time to remember for all the wrong reasons.”

If you have information about anyone who has been drinking or taken drugs and is about to drive, you are encouraged to call the police on 999 with the make and model of the vehicle, registration number and direction of travel.


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