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Festive Season Warnings On Driving Safely Issued

Click to watch the videoWith Christmas decorations and music now firmly established in the shops, and the office party season rapidly approaching, the annual warnings of driving within legal alcohol limits are being rolled out.

Sadly, as per usual, many will ignore the advice, resulting in injuries and even on occasions the death of drivers and passengers. Across Europe, government campaigns involve videos, TV and newspapers advertising campaigns, and leaflets distributed in GP surgeries, libraries and even places of work.

Some basic facts regarding drinking alcohol and driving:

  • 14% of road fatalities in 2010 were caused by drink driving
  • A drink drive conviction can result in job loss, strain on personal relationships and higher insurance costs
  • Tolerance to alcohol depends on a combination of factors: weight, age, gender, stress and recent food consumption
  • The best way to remain safe is not to drink and drive
  • A drink drive conviction can result in a prison sentence, driving ban and fine

One newspaper based in Grimsby ran a 'name and shame' drink drive campaign during the summer of 2009, with many supporters of such a campaign saying it should be done at Christmas time too. Go here to view

One organisation, Interactive Driving Systems based in the UK, has issued a key message for managers in organisations as well as for people travelling:

Our safe travelling tips for the festive party and the remainder of the holiday season include:

  1. If you are going to or organising a Christmas party, think about how you and your invitees will travel. If you plan to drink or provide alcohol, make arrangements in advance for non-drinking ‘designated drivers’ and hire minibuses, taxis or limousines for the end of the event.
  2. Look out for each other. Try to speak to each of your guests before they leave the party. Trust your instincts - if you think someone is ill-equipped to drive, call them a cab, arrange a ride with a sober friend, or encourage them to stay over.
  3. Don't get behind the steering wheel if you've had ANY alcohol. Call a taxi or get a lift with someone else who has not been drinking. Remember there is nothing that sobers you up so quickly as realising that you've run someone over or are pulled over by the police.
  4. Ensure that anyone travelling to work the next day is aware of the ‘morning after’ effect.

We are especially keen that colleagues and their families are vigilant when driving the morning after a night out. It takes hours for alcohol to leave the body and drivers can unwittingly be over the limit as they drive to school or work the next day. In fact, Police data suggests that nearly one in five drink-drive or driving under the influence offences are committed by people driving to work still over the limit the morning after – with a drink-drive conviction often resulting in a driving ban, serious fine and in the worst cases a prison sentence.

Dr Will Murray, Research Director at Interactive Driving Systems said:

It is absolutely essential that people do not drink and drive. Even just below the typical legal limit in many countries of 0.05 blood alcohol content, drivers are three times more likely to crash than if they have not taken any alcohol. All employers should specifically raise awareness of drink-driving, including the morning-after effect, at this time of year.”

As you can imagine, the last thing that anyone wants to do is discourage people from having a fun time at Christmas and during the holidays. As a responsible employer, however, we have a duty of care to ensure that our people return safely after the holiday period.

Source: CWU Health & Safety Dept / Dept of Transport / Grimsby Telegraph / Interactive Driving Systems / DirectGov

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