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Even Father Christmas Can Be Breathalysed

A tough warning has been sent out by road safety officers to people considering drinking and driving over Christmas.

Officers in Warwickshire are pointing out that even Father Christmas could face a breath test as the annual crusade to cut the number of alcohol-related deaths and injuries on the county’s roads.

The campaign, which was launched yesterday, is supporting the national initiative run by the government to encourage people to have a happy and safe Christmas.

This year’s slogan is:

“Drink and driving is one Christmas tradition that all road users can do without'.”

County Cllr Eddie Smith, cabinet member (Environment), said:

"If you have had a drink, you are 50 times more likely to have an accident. Drinking and driving is a potentially deadly habit.

“Nationally, drivers who have been drinking kill around 500 innocent people each year and are involved in about 16,000 crashes.

“It is all so unnecessary. People don't need to mix drink and driving. Book a taxi, use public transport, appoint a soft drink driver.

“Drinking and driving does cause accidents, and does kill. Our message is simple, don't risk ruining your own or anyone else's Christmas by drink driving."

Sgt Phil Ashby from Warwickshire Police added:

"Even the smallest amount of alcohol will affect your ability to drive safely. Your concentration will be affected, your ability to estimate speed and distance will be affected, as will your co-ordination and reaction time.

“Lots of people are caught out at this time of year because of office parties, lunchtime drinking, home measures which are often three or four times greater than pub ones, and the classic morning after the night before.

“Those people who drink and drive must be either selfish enough not to care that they could kill someone's parent or child and cause untold distress or anguish, or arrogant enough to believe they will not be caught."

He warned that all motorists involved in an accident will be breathalysed and in addition a campaign is being carried out to concentrate on safety aspects of cars.

If a motorist is stopped, a visual safety check will be carried out and the motorist may be breathalysed.

These checks will be in addition to the routine breath testing of any driver stopped by officers whom they have reasonable cause to suspect has been drinking alcohol.

The campaign runs until 2 January.

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CWN / Politics / Warwickshire County Council / 19 Dec 00

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