With the arrival of warmer weather, brighter evenings, BBQ season and the Summer Holidays, police have issued advice on how to avoid killer hangovers – Do not drink and drive.
Speaking ahead of the Police Summer anti-drink drive operation, Superintendent Muir Clark, Head of Road Policing said: “During 2010, drivers and riders who were ‘impared by alcohol’ caused 72 serious collisions. These were collisions in which people were seriously injured. Collisions which killed. These crashes don’t just happen.
“People don’t accidentally have a beer or glass of wine, they make a conscious decision. It only takes one drink to impair your decision making ability. The only right decision is to leave the car or motorbike at home if you’re drinking.
“We are particularly conscious of increased levels of traffic this weekend with many people heading off on holidays or staying at home, so are appealing for people to use the roads safely.
“We will also be running a series of road safety operations throughout the summer in partnership with our An Garda Síochána Traffic Corp colleagues. Indeed, we will be liaising closely over this coming weekend as we anticipate a large number of people travelling from across Northern Ireland to and from the Oxygen music Festival in County Kildare.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that there is a minority of people in Northern Ireland who still insist on driving after having taken drink or drugs. Each of these drink drivers is a potential killer.
“Sadly, police officers and our emergency service colleagues regularly witness the results of drinking and driving. It kills, maims, wrecks families and communities, so I am appealing for all road users to consider the consequences of their actions.
“Think about the consequences to yourself and your family of being involved in a serious collision. How would you feel if your selfish actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed? How would you feel if some innocent person was killed?” Superintendant Clark said.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “If you enjoy a drink at a summer BBQ, party, festival, or sporting event, leave the car at home. It is all too easy to take a leisurely drink and be tempted to drive home. Take even one drink and drive and YOU will put lives at risk.
“From the very first sip, alcohol will affect your driving, so the decision is simple - NEVER EVER DRINK AND DRIVE!”
Superintendent Clark added: “If you drink and drive you are likely to be caught, arrested and brought before the courts. You will almost certainly lose your licence for one or more years, will be fined, and will have great difficulty in obtaining car insurance in the future. You also risk losing your job or going to jail.”
“We are also reminding parents and guardians to reinforce the road safety message with young people, in particular how to cross the road safely – looking both ways without being distracted by friends, mobile phones or MP3 players.
“Everyone must take into account increased traffic levels over the holiday period and heed the road safety message. To date this year, 30 people have lost their lives on the roads in Northern Ireland. Sadly this figure can change overnight. Police will continue to enforce the law to make Northern Ireland’s roads safer, but our role is very much secondary.
“All road users have a role to play in preventing deaths and injuries on our roads. All we ask is that drivers slow down, do not drive or ride a motorcycle after drinking or taking drugs, wear a seatbelt and drive with greater care and attention,” Superintendent Clark concluded.