Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today launched a brand new DOE anti drink driving campaign.
The campaign includes a new television advert and specifically targets 18-24 year old males.
Significantly, and in a subtle shift by DOE, social media will be used extensively in the campaign given the targeted group. A two and a half minute advert will appear on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Launching the campaign at the Brunswick Moviebowl Cinema in Derry:, Mark H Durkan said: “Drink/drug driving has caused over 2,000 deaths and serious injuries since 2000. That’s 2,000 devastated families. This new road safety campaign reinforces the need for motorists to ‘Never Ever Drink and Drive’.
“It stresses the impairing effects of alcohol on driving, even from the first drink. The message is designed to increase further the unacceptability of driving even after one drink, especially for younger males.
“PSNI statistics show that 17-24 year old males are most at risk of causing death and serious injury by drink and driving, either to themselves and other innocent road user. Our campaign is heavily targeted towards them with intense use of social media.
“All drivers though who buy and consume a pint or any other alcoholic drink should realise it could be the most expensive one they ever had, ultimately costing them or other road users their lives.”
Research shows impairment begins well below the current drink drive limit of 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The skills most critical for driving – the brain’s ability to observe, interpret and process information from the eyes and other senses – are impaired by alcohol even at the lowest levels.
The new campaign spells out the legal consequences of being caught drink driving from imprisonment, to losing your licence and having to re-take your test. It also tells the story of ordinary young men enjoying a night out and have their lives destroyed due to a delayed reaction.
Last year there were 16 deaths and 62 seriously injured casualties due to drink/drug related driving. This means that last year alone, alcohol and/or drugs accounted for over 20% of all road deaths.
The Minister continued: “The tragedy of these deaths and injuries is sorely felt not only by the bereaved families but by friends, colleagues and the wider community.
“This is a tragedy that could be avoided by taking the simple decision not to drive after having a drink.
“As road users and drivers we all make choices and we all have influence.
“This is as critical a message all year round but particularly at Christmas. People need to realise you can’t take chances by having one beer, a glass of wine in a bar, or a shot of vodka at a party and then getting behind the steering wheel.
“If you are with a driver who is drinking alcohol, persuade them to take a taxi home or get a lift from someone who isn’t drinking. Don’t put your own life at risk.”
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “As this new advertisement illustrates, there is no safe limit, so never drink and drive.
“Nobody should ever find themselves ever asking the question, I wonder if I’m ok to drive? Or trying to calculate if they are under the drink drive limit, be it after one drink, or the morning after a night out. Do not take the risk. The consequences, as police officers and our emergency service colleagues witness first hand, can be catastrophic.
“As I said when we launched our winter anti-drink drive operation a fortnight ago, I want all motorists to think about the consequences to yourself and your family of being involved in a serious collision. How would you feel if your actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed? How would you feel if some innocent person was killed? Consider too the impact of losing your driving license and gaining a criminal conviction. Would you also lose your job? Your home?
“I do not want police officers knocking on doors at any time of the year, but especially over Christmas and the New Year, to tell families that a loved one has been killed on the roads. If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care and attention then together we can reduce this preventable carnage on our roads.”
The new advert will appear for the first time on X Factor at 9.40pm on Sunday 13 December 2015 just before the winner of X Factor 2015 is announced.