Driving Safety

Recent campaigns against drink driving

On November the 28th 2005 the UK Government Department for Transport launched its annual THINK! Christmas drink drive campaign which was widely publicized in all the media. It claims that campaigns aimed at increasing public awareness over the last 13 years have helped to save about 20,000 lives. Unhappily the statistics also show the need for the dangers of drink driving to be kept prominently in the public eye.

The grim facts about the effects of drink driving

  • Around 16% of all road deaths involve a driver who is over the legal alcohol limit.
  • The Government aims to target its campaign intensively at males between the ages of 17 and 29.
  • Drink driving cause an average of 3,000 deaths or serious injuries every year
  • Provisional figures for 2003 show that 560 lives were lost in incidents involving a driver over the legal limit. It might be a small percent of the population but imagine if a group of 500+ people were to be killed at once in a national disaster and the devastating long term effects on families and survivors.
  • Of over 500,000 breath tests carried out each year 100,000 (20%) are positive.
  • Although the law specifies a legal alcohol limit, in reality people are affected in a number of different ways according to a variety of factors by how much they drink - even the day before.
  • An individual's subjective assessment of his or her own ability to make judgments and react properly are almost never accurate (not even when sober). Nobody is an exception and it is foolish and deluded for anybody to think that they can 'take your drink better' than another person - particularly when it comes to driving.
  • The distance between here and eternity is only a split second for the drink driver, or another innocent driver or pedestrian.
  • The only simple answer is - just don't drink and then drive at all. Even that cannot protect you from the next person coming towards you who chose to ignore this campaign.

And that's only alcohol...

Like it or not, recreational drug use in the UK has risen substantially over the last 10 years. Sometimes people combine both drugs and alcohol. Driving under the influence of drugs will see someone else off the planet just as effectively as drink driving. In case anyone really needs reminding these are the effects of various drugs outlined on the department's web site -

  • Slower reaction times
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleepiness/fatigue
  • Confused thinking
  • Distorted perception
  • Over confidence, so you take unnecessary risks
  • Impaired co-ordination
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Blurred vision/enlarged pupils
  • Aggression
  • Panic attacks and paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps

For more information, materials and resources visit The THINK! Road Safety Web site at -

http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/campaigns/drinkdrive/drinkdrive.htm (copy and paste into the address bar in your browser)

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