Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Road Haulage Drivers and Others Warned Again Not to Drink and Drive

THINK! Campaign Hots up for Christmas as Passengers Also Told to be Firmer with Transgressors
Shipping News Feature

UK – ‘Tis the season, and all that, but drivers are being warned by an assortment of transport and safety experts to ensure they don’t become a drink drive statistic this Christmas, and whilst the Freight Transport Association implores professional road haulage drivers not to take a drink and risk their licence – or worse, Brake, the road safety charity, has joined with insurers Direct Line to ask that passengers put pressure on designated drivers not to break their pledge to remain tea total.

The FTA is supporting the THINK! campaign which is warning professional drivers that they would be particularly at risk if caught drunk behind the wheel, as they could be denied access to millions of jobs which use criminal record checks to access potential employees, and states: 'Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. You risk a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record'.

In the past 30 years drink driving figures have fallen, but in 2011 there were still 230 deaths due to drink driving – accounting for 12% of all road fatalities and, according to police figures recently revealed by car insurers LV, the number of motorists arrested for drink driving the ‘morning after’ has risen. Arrests between 06:00 and 08:00 rose from 350 in 2011 to 363 in 2012 – an increase of 4%, according to figures from 22 police forces in England and Wales and if there’s any doubt as to whether it’s safe is to drive, the FTA says it’s best to use a breathalyser, freely available from the Association’s online shop and elsewhere, before setting off.

Brake meanwhile is appealing to party-goers to help prevent Christmas tragedies by standing up to designated drivers who break their promise by drinking alcohol. This puts their passengers and other road users at risk. Research released today by Brake and Direct Line, shows a huge shift in public attitudes towards drink driving over the past decade. While the vast majority of drivers now subscribe to a zero tolerance approach to alcohol and driving, in line with Brake's advice, a minority continue to cause enormous risk by driving after drinking - and passengers are struggling to stand up to these drivers.

The Brake website is littered with statistics showing the inherent dangers of drink and drugs to drivers and their passengers and the charity is calling for the government to ‘catch up with research and public attitudes’ by reducing the legal limit to 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood - effectively zero tolerance which the organisation says would send a clear message that driving after any amount of alcohol significantly increases your crash risk.

One in six deaths on UK roads are directly attributable to drivers over the current limit but when the statistics are extrapolated to include others who are legally OK to drive, but have consumed enough for 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood to show up in a test they show these are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood. Rob Miles, Director of Motor at Direct Line, said:

"Worryingly, one in eight people have been a passenger in a car when they've suspected the driver may have been over the drink drive limit. We're calling on motorists and passengers alike to be responsible and prevent drink driving when they have any concerns about the driver being over the limit or otherwise unsafe."

Photo: The results of an HGV or PSV crash when the driver is drunk can be catastrophic. 18 people died in this accident.