POLICE have launched their Lift Legend Christmas drink drive campaign, with more that 90 licensed premises set to offer soft drinks to those who give free lifts home to friends and family after a night out.
The initiative runs across Devon and Cornwall from Thursday, December 1, to Sunday, January 1, 2023 and it is described as ‘a modern approach’ to the annual Christmas campaign.
On buying their first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have their second free of charge at participating venues.
During the month-long operation officers will be raising awareness of the dangers involved in drink-driving by encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions this Christmas.
Officers will also be carrying out intelligence-led fixed site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink.
Chief Inspector Ben Asprey, of the roads policing unit, said: ‘It is vital we do all we can to ensure anyone on a night out is able to get home safely. Our initiative aims to encourage those heading out for the night to plan who is going to be their Lift Legend.
‘Officers will not only be tackling those getting behind the wheel after a drink, but also those who decide to drive after taking illegal drugs.
‘Despite long-term reductions, drink and drug driving still accounts for 15 per cent of road deaths and almost 10,000 casualties nationally each year.
‘During last year’s Christmas campaign in December 2021, officers in Devon and Cornwall carried out 1,076 breath tests and charged 166 people with a drink drive-related offence.
‘Alongside the Lift Legend education campaign which we’re continuing this year after last year’s success, officers will be out in force rigorously targeting those who are a danger on our roads, day or night.
‘It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t seek out lifts from those you don’t know or who aren’t licenced such as through social media networks. Only get into a vehicle with someone you know and trust.
‘Alcohol and drugs impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving; reaction times and spatial awareness are affected significantly. This may still be the case the morning after, depending on how much alcohol is consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking.
‘If police think you are unfit to drive through consumption of alcohol, even if your breath test registers lower than the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, you can still be arrested and may be charged with an offence. In short, you do not have to be drunk to be a drink driver. Don’t risk it.
‘It’s not just you that’s at risk. You could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoiding this happening is as simple as planning ahead, leaving the car at home, and using a taxi, public transport or designated driver to get home.’
Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Alison Hernandez said: ‘Anyone who puts themselves in charge of a vehicle having consumed alcohol or illegal drugs, rather than arranging for a lift, is selfishly risking the lives of their own and others.
‘A family that loses a loved one doesn’t want to hear a sob story about how bad your life is or why you felt it acceptable to get into a vehicle under the influence.
‘The festive season is one we like to enjoy and should not be a period in which lives are ruined because of the actions of thoughtless drivers.
‘So this year we’re advising people to ask for a lift so they have a safe and happy Christmas.’
If you have information about anyone who has been drinking or taken drugs and is about to drive, you should call police on 999 with the make and model of the vehicle, registration number and direction of travel.