EMERGENCY services have teamed up to highlight the dangers of getting behind the wheel under the influence, and are urging motorists not to drink or drug drive this festive season.
Last Christmas in Cheshire 156 people were arrested for drink driving – down by just five on the previous year – and an increasing number were also arrested for drug driving, 112 in total.
Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Keane, along with Cheshire’s emergency services, is calling on members of the public to apply a ‘none for the road’ motto.
Mr Keane said: “Just one person caught drink or drug driving in Cheshire is one too many, and there can be no excuses. ‘None for the road’ is the right choice because it removes the ambiguities for everyone, drivers, passengers and the wider public.
“I hope more people make the right choice this year and we see these numbers reducing, because the safety of people on and around our roads is so incredibly important. Making the wrong choice could not just spoil Christmas for families this year, but in the worst cases, for a lifetime.
“Our emergency services play a critical role in keeping Christmas running for families across Cheshire, as well as ensuring this is a time of celebration and unity, so I hope people respect the efforts they are making to protect them.”
Superintendent Paul Beauchamp, Cheshire police’s taskforce lead said: “Year after year we hear about people who think they are safe to drive after a couple of drinks because they don’t ‘feel’ affected by the alcohol they’ve consumed. It’s a common place response to our officers, but it’s also wrong.
“We’re not trying to spoil people’s fun here. We know that just one drink can impact someone’s ability to deal with simple events on the roads – such as a change in driving conditions, or actions taken by other road users. Things can change in a blink of an eye, and if you have had a drink you won’t be in the best possible position to react to them. Sadly, we know that sometimes this can be the difference between life and death.
“Police officers join the force to help make our communities safer places, but no officer wants to tell family members that their loved one has died as a result of a collision. It becomes even more heart wrenching at Christmas time or if that loved one is lost because of drink or drug driving.”
Colin Heyes, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Road Safety Manager, said: “Unfortunately people still feel it is acceptable to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is a well-known fact that alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents on our roads, yet people still make that choice to get behind the wheel anyway.
“Our crews do a great job at rescuing people from collisions however sometimes, it is just too late, and unfortunately, our firefighters have seen far too many preventable fatalities on the roads. One person’s reckless and selfish decision can cost somebody their life – could you live with yourself knowing you’re the reason for someone not returning home to their family this Christmas?”