By Claire West
Designated drivers will be rewarded in thousands of pubs across the country as part of the THINK! Christmas drink drive campaign, launched today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.
In addition to running radio advertising, posters in pub washrooms and online search activity, THINK! has teamed up with Coca-Cola’s Designated Driver campaign to offer drivers free soft drinks in more than 8,000 participating venues across Britain as part of the Driver Friendly campaign.
Mike Penning said:
"Drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel after drinking this Christmas, they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence.
"Christmas should be a time for a celebration not a night in the cells. That is why we have teamed up with Coca-Cola and pub chains this Christmas to reward designated drivers as well as reminding drivers of the consequences of getting a drink drive conviction.
"Last year 380 people were killed in accidents where the driver was over the limit. That is why our message is clear: don't drink and drive."
ACPO lead on roads policing, Chief Constable Mick Giannasi said:
“This year we are using information from the public to target those areas where drink driving is a particular problem and so the chances of getting caught are greater than ever.
“If the police stop a driver, and there is any suspicion that they have been drinking, then they will be asked to provide a breath test and drivers should be in no doubt that if they are found to be over the limit they will be brought before the courts.
“Many drivers don’t realise that alcohol stays in the system for a number of hours, and that they could still be over the limit the next morning when driving to work or dropping the children off at school. That is why we are asking drivers to be safe, not sorry, this Christmas.”
Jon Woods, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland said:
“With Christmas just around the corner, our consumers are gearing up to celebrate. We know how much they enjoy the festive period and we don’t want to dampen their spirits.
"This Christmas we’re proud to be partnering with the Government’s THINK! initiative to help raise awareness of responsible drinking. By rewarding those drivers who choose not to drink with a free Coke or diet Coke, we can encourage people to do the right thing while still enjoying a great night out. It’s a different approach to responsible drinking but our consumers love it.”
Designated drivers should ask at the bar about how to take advantage of the buy one soft drink, get one free offer at participating pubs.