Charity urges drivers to stay sober over festive period

4:00pm Saturday 30th November 2013

BRAKE, the road safety charity, is calling on drivers to commit to staying stone cold sober if driving home from xmas festivities - not a drop, not a drag - or plan to get home by taxi or public transport, to prevent devastating casualties.

The call comes as the Association of Chief Police Officers' annual drink and drug driving enforcement campaign kicks off. The month long campaign sees forces across England and Wales stepping up checks to catch drivers risking lives. In 2012, 280 people were killed (one in six road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving someone over the limit. It's estimated a further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers who have been drinking but are under the limit. Drug driving is estimated to cause 200 deaths each year. Brake is also renewing calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit, of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood, in line with evidence that even one drink dramatically increases crash risk, and to send a clear message it should be none for the road.

A blood alcohol level of 20-50mg increases your likelihood of crashing three-fold.

The current limit is 80mg, but Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced plans to lower their limits to 50mg, which Brake welcomed as a positive step. Read about Brake's not a drop, not a drag campaign. Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it.

"Drink and drug driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving behind traumatised families to pick up the pieces. If you're driving home from celebrations this festive season, especially if you're a designated driver, it's vital you take your responsibility for people's safety seriously.

"It's a proven fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs inflate your risk of crashing. So even if you feel okay after a drink, the reality is that if you get behind the wheel you're putting yourself and others in needless danger."

"We are also appealing to the government to take action on drink driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. The evidence shows that tougher laws and enforcement would help prevent casualties."

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