Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are teaming up to raise awareness of the dangers of getting behind the wheel under the influence, urging motorists to not drink or drug drive this festive season.
Last Christmas, 157 people were arrested for drink driving and a further 86 for drug driving. While the number of people caught drug driving had reduced by 26 from the previous year, one more person was caught drink driving over the same period.
Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell, Cheshire police's taskforce lead said: "The amount of people that think they are safe to drive after a couple of drinks because they don't 'feel' affected by the alcohol is astonishing. Even just one drink can impact your ability to deal with common place events on the roads – such as a change in driving conditions, or actions taken by other road users. Anything can change in a blink of an eye, and if you have had a drink, you won't be in the best possible position to react to that change – and that can ultimately be the difference between life and death."
Station Manager Andy Gray, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service's Road Safety Manager, said: "Unfortunately people still feel it is acceptable to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is a well-known fact that alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents on our roads, yet people still make that choice to get behind the wheel anyway.
"Crews do a great job at rescuing people from collisions however sometimes, it is just too late, and unfortunately, our firefighters have seen far too many preventable fatalities and life-changing injuries on the roads. One person's reckless and selfish decision can cost somebody their life - could you live with yourself knowing you're the reason for someone not returning home to their family this Christmas?"
Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane said: "One fatality on our roads that has occurred as a result of somebody driving under the influence is one too many and completely unacceptable. Safety on our roads is one of my most important priorities as your Police and Crime Commissioner, and that's why I'm committed to working with partners to bring the number of deaths and serious injuries down. Whether it's speeding, drink driving, or being distracted at the wheel, we need to work together to tackle it.
"I want to thank all emergency services for all their hard work in trying to keep our roads safe this Christmas. When it's a time to be out celebrating and spending time with loved ones for many, officers, firefighters and paramedics are out on our streets helping people in their time of need. Every single resident in Cheshire has the right to use our roads safely, and I'm extremely grateful for the dedication Cheshire emergency services give to try make this happen."
Superintendent Marshall-Bell added: "Police officers join the force to keep people safe, and it's awful telling family members that their loved one has died as a result of a collision - and it becomes even more heart wrenching at Christmas time. We are not trying to spoil your fun, and we want you to have a great time celebrating this festive season, but I am urging you to apply our 'none for the road' motto. One drink can quickly lead to another, and another – why risk it?"
The 2018 drink drug driving campaign runs from today (Saturday, 1st December) until Tuesday 1st January 2019.