Picture caption: Police officers stop vehicles as part of an operation targeting impaired drivers last week
I am pleased the police are working with licensees around Devon & Cornwall again this year to help more people get home safely after a fun night out, by giving those who stay sober and drive their mates home free (soft) drinks to show our appreciation.
Devon & Cornwall Police’s Lift Legend campaign has almost 80 licensed premises taking part over the festive period.
Drink and drug driving is one of the ‘fatal five’ causes of serious injuries and deaths on roads in South West England. Last winter, Devon & Cornwall Police arrested 952 people for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Despite years of campaigning the road safety charity Brake reports that December remains a peak month for drink driving-related crashes.
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.
And while we might enjoy low crime rates here in Devon and Cornwall, the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads is way too high. It’s why I helped set up the Vision Zero Road Safety Partnership and made road safety a Police and Crime Plan priority. Behind the statistics are too many grieving familes and shattered lives.
I will never forget, for example, the moving testimony of Steve Kimberley, whose 12-year-old son Matthew and 10-year-old daughter Lucy were killed when a drunk driver crashed into their car on the A38. Family friend Ben Jewell, 19, was also killed. Steve, who lives near Falmouth, has campaigned to stop people drink driving since the 1996 tragedy.
Lift Legend started at the beginning of the month and will run until Monday, January 1, 2024. Drivers buying a soft drink in one of the participating venues will receive a voucher to get their second drink free of charge.
During the month-long operation, Devon & Cornwall Police will be using social media channels to raise awareness of the dangers involved with drink and drug driving, carrying out intelligence-led checks and engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or taking drugs.
Anyone who thinks they are safe to drive after drinking or taking drugs is deluding themselves. Even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system increases the risk of causing serious harm to yourself or other road users.
So as well as an incentive for staying sober, Devon & Cornwall Police will also be putting extra resource into enforcing the law.
If you are found guilty of this crime you will lose your licence and could go to prison, which could cost you your job and livelihood.
This doesn’t just apply to people who are on a big night out, those driving the morning after a few drinks could also unexpectedly be over the limit and unfit to drive.
Please, don’t risk it – take advantage of this offer and get free soft drinks for your designated driver. Let’s make sure everyone gets home safely this Christmas.
If you suspect someone has been drinking or has taken drugs and is about to drive, please dial 999 and provide the make and model of the vehicle, registration number and direction of travel.
For more information about the campaign or to find participating venues near you, visit: www.dc.police.uk/LiftLegend.
If you feel strongly about road safety or any other policing issue there is still time to take part in my annual Your Safety, Your Say survey. Visit https://bit.ly/DCPCCbudget.