Friday’s launch: back row pub landlord Roger Waters, front row (from left to right) Insp Bruce Gent, PCC Tim Passmore, Iain Watson of SCC Road Safety, Cllr Graham Newman and Sgt Paul Ward
On Sunday 1 December Norfolk and Suffolk Police launched a joint campaign, coinciding with a national ACPO campaign, warning motorists that Police will be stepping up their effort to catch anyone drink driving this Christmas.
Throughout the two counties officers will be stopping any driver who causes concern, whether it is as a result of their manner of driving or because their car has a defect and will carry out a breath test, as well as testing all drivers involved in collisions.
As part of the campaign Suffolk pubs are being encouraged to take part in a Designated Driver Scheme and offer free or discounted soft drinks to designated drivers during the festive period.
Over the last few weeks the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership has been asking licensees to consider how they would feel if one of their customers was involved in a collision and encouraging them to support the campaign by rewarding designated drivers.
The scheme ran during the same period last year and saw pubs offering discounted teas, coffees and soft drinks to their customers in an effort to prevent people from drink driving.
During the Christmas drink drive campaign last year 88 drivers were more than the legal limit when tested by police.
In 2012/13 57 people were injured in collisions in the county where alcohol was found to be a factor, while in 2011/12 74 people were injured and two were killed.
Inspector Bruce Gent of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit said:
“When drivers are prosecuted for drink or drug driving or are involved in road traffic collisions because of drink or drugs, the effect on their lives, their employment and their families is devastating. This scheme is a positive step towards offering drivers an alternative and encouraging them to take their turn to be the designated driver.”
On Friday 29 December members of the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership attended the Dove Pub in Bury St Edmunds for a media opportunity in a bid to raise awareness of the scheme. The Dove was one pub that provided discounted drinks last year and it is planning on doing the same again.
As pubs sign up to support the scheme, their names will be published on the Suffolk Roadsafe website http://www.suffolkroadsafe.net/desidriverLink to an external website.
Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, said:
“People who offer to drive their friends for a night out really deserve to be rewarded, and pubs that offer free or lower priced soft drinks to designated drivers are really helping to promote safer driving behaviour.
“I am fully in support of this campaign and I hope this incentive results in the decrease of drink drive incidents that seem to increase around this time of year.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner added:
“Christmas is a time of fun and merriment and I thoroughly enjoy this time of the year; but for far too many people Christmas merriment fuelled by alcohol can seriously detract from the goodwill of the season.
“I find it really staggering that despite the obvious dangers and the huge amount of publicity, every year drivers risk their lives and the lives of others by driving under the influence of alcohol.
“I am really pleased to see the Constabulary is promoting the Designated Driver Scheme again this year and I would encourage licensees to join us in keeping in Suffolk safe over the festive period.”