Nationally, 25 per cent of all road deaths involve the driver being under the influence of alcohol and last year (2011) saw the first increase in drink drive collisions since 2002.
That means 1 in 7 of road deaths involved drink drivers over the alcohol limit. 1,290 serious injuries occurred when someone was over the drink drive limit.
Seeing a rise in figures is alarming and Lincolnshire police are committed to reducing the spectre of drink driving that continues to blight so many families in Lincolnshire.
Officers have visited bars, public houses and clubs in the county to distribute beer mats and posters with their message. During December they will also target vehicles with leaflets that remind drivers of the consequences of drink driving, the penalties and the futility of trying to measure their own limit.
In recent years young drivers, 17 to 29 year olds, have figured highly in drink drive casualty figures. These drivers will be one of the primary targets. More drivers prove positive between the hours midnight to midday and police want to remind drivers that they maybe over the limit the morning after a night out. The aim is to test more drivers than in previous years. All drivers involved in collisions will, as normal, be breath tested.
Nominated drivers are supported by Coca-Cola this year in over 8,000 outlets nationally providing their brand of soft drinks in a buy one get one free offer for the ‘Designated Driver’. Locally, JD Wetherspoons have worked with Lincolnshire police to support the campaign. They will carry a range of non alcoholic drinks from a menu of ‘Winter tasters’ and ‘Summer cocktails’ for later in the year. Customers of Wetherspoons in Lincolnshire can take these leaflets away to try at home too.
Lincolnshire police will be carrying out road side breath testing and, if applicable, field impairment checks which will give an indication of whether a driver is under the influence of drugs. All drivers who fail the roadside screening will undergo further evidential testing at a police station, failure of these tests will see them put before the Courts for prosecution.
The drink drive conviction remains on the driver’s license for 11 years.
Professor Robert Forrest, HM Coroner for South Lincolnshire said: “Mixing alcohol with driving is never a good idea at Christmas or any other time of the year. By doing it you increase the chance that you will get to meet me, but you won’t be shaking me warmly by the hand.
“Drinking even very small amounts of alcohol along with many prescribed medicines and some medicines you can buy over the counter can be dangerous. Alcohol will multiply the adverse effects that some medicines have on your ability to drive safely. Look at the label on your medicine and the leaflet in the package. If you see a phrase such as “Warning: this medicine may make you sleepy”, it is not safe to drink even a small amount of alcohol whilst you are taking it before you drive.”
Darien Long, whose partner Valentina Planchinene, was killed by a drunk driver said: “The loss of loved one never leaves you, the sense of anger and pain is always with you. Even a small amount of alcohol can effect your driving – this has a devastating effect for the family left behind. Causing death or injury is something that will stay with you forever, even after you are released from prison”.