Motoring charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists is calling for drink driving warnings on labels for alcoholic drinks as it kicks off its Christmas drink drive campaign.
In 2009, one in five motorists killed in crashes were over the legal limit. Drink driving killed 380 people in 2009, and seriously injured 1,490 others.
There were more than 10,000 incidents involving drink drivers and over a thousand of these happened the morning after, between 7am and noon.
The alcohol industry has agreed to provide health information on 80 per cent of alcohol labels on UK shelves by 2013, but the IAM believes that drink driving warnings should be included.
Chief executive Simon Best said: “Drink driving is an epidemic on our roads. Every one of 2009’s drink-driving incidents was preventable. That 380 people died in crashes that year, simply because they didn’t heed the warnings and the law, is tragic.
“We want to see clear drink driving warnings that are just as hard hitting as health warnings on cigarette labels. If the drinks industry softens the road safety and health messages on its labels then the case for a compulsory system of labelling would be compelling. The message to everyone is don’t drink and drive.”
Best gives the following advice on avoiding the temptation:
l Beware the quick drink after work. One pint with your colleagues might seem harmless but it can quickly turn into two, then three. Shell out for a taxi, get the train, or walk – it’ll cost much less than a drink-drive charge or accident.
l Ignore peer pressure. Your friends or family have had a few and don’t want to pay for a taxi. You have your car but have been drinking. Just say no – it’s your licence at stake.
l Driving with good intentions to a party, to a pub or to a restaurant and then just having a drink or two, puts more pressure on you to risk driving home, even if you’re not sure whether you are below the limit.
l You are likely to be breathalysed if you are involved in a collision, even if it is not your fault. Whether or not you think you’re fit to drive, don’t take the chance or somebody else’s mistake might become your problem.
l Even if you resist and don’t drive home, a drinking session the night before could put you over the legal limit the morning after. Bear this in mind and make alternative transport plans for the next day – don’t just risk it.
l Many accidents involve pedestrians who have been drinking. When walking home after a few drinks, take extra care, and if you’re driving be aware that pedestrians may be the worse for wear.