With 46 people in Dorset having been charged with a drink drive related offence last year, Dorset Police has come up with an innovative approach to stop people drinking and driving.
The force has launched its Lift Legend Christmas campaign, with over 50 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 from Wednesday 1 December to Saturday 1 January 2022.
On the purchase of 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 inherent dangers involved in drink driving by encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions this Christmas.
Breath tests will also be requested from all drivers who commit a moving road traffic offence, irrespective of whether or not they’re suspected a drink driving offence.
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.
Superintendent Adrian Leisk, of the roads policing team, said: “It is vital we do all we can to ensure anyone on a night out is able to get home safely. Our new initiative aims to encourage those heading out for the night to plan who is going to be their Lift Legend.
“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, officers in Dorset carried out 475 breath tests and charged 46 people with a drink drive-related offence.
“Alongside the Lift Legend education campaign, 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 licensed 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 David Sidwick said: “I wholeheartedly support the ‘Lift Legend’ campaign and I would like to thank all the businesses across Dorset who are also supporting the campaign by providing the designated ‘Lift Legend’ with free soft drinks.
“Dorset Police has taken an innovative approach to their Christmas drink drive campaign this year, one which provides essential awareness raising opportunities to the dangers of drink driving and gives a practical solution by having a ‘alcohol free’ designated driver for the journey home.
“Obviously, officers will be carrying out essential enforcement action over the Christmas and New Year period, so I would encourage anyone who is heading out to celebrate the seasons festivities to choose their ‘Lift Legend’ and avoid the potential of putting themselves and others at risk of serious injury or even death by drinking and driving.”
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.
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