Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
9:20 AM 20th December 2023

Please Don’t Drink And Drive

As police forces across the country embark on the latest seasonal drink-drive enforcement campaigns, GEM Motoring Assist is calling on drivers across the country to plan their journeys and ensure they celebrate the festive season safely.

GEM’s message is clear: alcohol impairs judgement, and driving after drinking even a small amount of alcohol raises every driver’s risk of being involved in a collision.

There were 260 deaths on Britain’s roads in 2021 where a driver was over the drink-drive limit – the highest since 2009. A further 6,740 people were injured.

GEM road safety adviser James Luckhurst says:
“We want everyone to have a merry Christmas and enjoy the parties and celebrations. Ensuring you do it safely may take a small amount of travel planning, but it shows we’re taking responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others who share the road with us.

“Fewer police on the roads may mean a reduced risk of being stopped and breath tested, but the risks of causing harm through drink driving are just as high.

“So, plan your nights out to ensure you never risk driving after drinking alcohol. If you need to drive, then don’t drink any alcohol. If you’re having even just one drink, don’t get behind the wheel.”

Plan head: Travel tips for the Christmas party season:

Pre-book taxis and make sure you have their phone number or app – and ensure your phone is fully charged before you go out.
If you’re using public transport, check the times of buses and trains, and keep an eye open for last-minute cancellations.
Share the cost of soft drinks for the designated driver in your group. The good news is that the selection of delicious no-alcohol beers, ciders and mocktails has improved dramatically in recent years.
Think about the ‘morning after’ as well. If you’ve had a few drinks and you need to get somewhere the next day, use public transport, taxis or organise a lift.
If you’re out with someone who’s planning to drive after drinking, then try to talk them into sharing a taxi. If this doesn’t work tell the bar staff or call 999 and ask for the police.

Alcohol myth-busters…

I’ll be OK after a good night’s sleep
Not necessarily. Between 15 and 20% failed breath tests are from people who get behind the wheel the morning after drinking alcohol.

One drink means one ‘unit’ of alcohol
Wrong, so counting the glasses you’ve had at the pub, at a party or at home is not a reliable indicator of how much alcohol you have consumed.

Coffee will sober me up after a few drinks
Wrong. You may feel more alert, as coffee is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. But you’ll still have the same amount of alcohol in your system, however much coffee you drink.

Eating a heavy meal means I can’t get drunk
Wrong. Food doesn’t prevent alcohol from being absorbed… it can slow the process down, but you’ll still have the alcohol in your system.

I won’t be impaired until I’ve had a lot to drink
Wrong. Even small amounts will impair your judgement.
Impairment starts with your very first drink.

I’ll see how I feel later before deciding whether to drive or not
Wrong: plan early how you’re going to get home. Decide where you can safely leave your car, book taxis, or agree that you’ll stay on soft drinks. We tend not to make our wisest decisions when we’re a little merry – or worse.

I can avoid court and go on a course if I get caught, as it would be a first offence
Wrong. There’s a mandatory 12-month ban, plus a hefty fine and a criminal record. Estimates show that a drink-drive conviction costs the average motorist nearly £50,000 when all the immediate costs and longer-term consequences are taken into account.