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Launch of Christmas Anti-Drunk Drive Campaign (There Is No Excuse) 23 November 2007

This year’s festive campaign warning motorists of the dangers of drinking and then driving was launched at 2pm today (Friday 23rd November) at the Vehicle Test Centre, Tromode.

The 2007 Christmas Anti-Drink Drive Campaign is a joint initiative between the Department of Transport’s Road Safety Unit and the Police and the message, as in previous years, is clear and simple – if you are socialising over the Christmas and New Year period, don’t be foolish by attempting to drive while under the influence.

This year, the campaign uses common excuses that people give when they are caught drink driving with the tag line ‘There is no excuse’. Three distinct images are used in the campaign material including a Monopoly board highlighting the ‘go to jail’ card, a scene in a bar with friends enjoying a Christmas night out with the Grim Reaper in waiting and an array of festive Christmas cards with one sympathy card at the forefront of the image.

‘Motorists who drink then drive are taking a massive risk,’ said Gordon Edwards, Road Safety Manager for the Isle of Man Department of Transport. ‘They risk their own safety, the safety of others in the car and those sharing the road; they risk losing their jobs and their freedom. Most importantly they are risking the lives of their loved ones and innocent victims for the sake of an alcoholic drink. It’s just not worth it.’
Mr Edwards explained: ‘You may have only had one or two drinks, but even a small amount of alcohol can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Reaction times are impaired, as is the ability to judge speed and distance. Alcohol may also create an increased confidence in ability, and therefore promote risk-taking behaviour. You can’t calculate your own drink drive limit, so the only safe option is not to drink and drive.’

The target audience is all the drivers who use the Island’s roads, but with particular emphasis on those who use their vehicles to travel to and from pubs and clubs over the Christmas period – and those people who drive on the morning after a night out and who may still be over the limit.

Inspector Derek Flint, of the Roads Policing Unit, said the campaign’s objectives were:

• To increase the awareness of the dangers of having a couple of drinks and driving

• To educate drivers that they can’t calculate their alcohol limit

• To get drivers to think about the consequences of being caught

‘The legal limit in the Island is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood,’ explained Inspector Flint ‘However, any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. The effects can include slower reactions, increased stopping distances, poorer judgement of speed and distance and reduced peripheral vision.
‘There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely. The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive.
‘Motorists should never forget that if you have been out drinking at night, you may still be affected by alcohol the following day. You may feel OK, but you may still be unfit to drive or over the legal limit. It’s impossible to get rid of alcohol any faster – a shower, cup of coffee or other ways of ‘sobering up’ will not help. It just takes time.’

The penalties for drinking and driving are severe in the Isle of Man – a fine of up to £5,000 and a disqualification and possible prison sentence.

‘The reciprocal ban legislation means that any disqualification incurred in the Isle of Man will apply in the UK and vice versa,’ Mr Edwards said. ‘There is also the probability of a jail sentence. Following a drink drive conviction insurance costs rocket, there is the inconvenience of not being able to drive and a requirement to pass another driving test before a licence is restored may be imposed.’

On the evening of the 13th December the Road Safety Unit in partnership with the emergency services plans to stage an anti drink drive display to remind late night shoppers of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Hon Tim Crookall MHK Member for Highways added:

‘The most important advice is to plan your journey home and how you are going to get to work the following day before you go out, There is no excuse!

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