'Think before you drink’ and plan ahead this Christmas party season

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Emergency services and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is launching a safety awareness campaign to encourage Christmas partygoers to think before they drink to reduce the risk of inadvertently drink-driving the morning after.

According to Devon and Cornwall Police, there were 1472 breath tests administered between 1 December 2018 and 1 January 2019. Thirteen percent (189) of these were positive, refused or failed, and of those 18% (34) were caught in the morning (between 5am and noon).

With Christmas party season getting started, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, along with partners Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, as well as alcohol awareness charity Drink Wise Age Well, would like to raise awareness of the lengthy period alcohol remains in your system.

Three large glasses of wine (250ml) will take approximately 11 and a half hours after the last drink to work its way out of your body, meaning a midweek Christmas party could pose a risky morning commute. So if you’ve polished off a bottle of wine over an evening of festivities, you should think carefully about how much recovery time you’ve had before getting behind the wheel. Even stopping drinking that sort of quantity of alcohol at 11pm makes early morning driving a dangerous – and illegal – choice, and you would need to wait until at least 10.30am the next morning before you are fit to consider driving.

Four pints of 4% lager will take at least 10 hours 20 minutes to recover from – so again – stopping drinking at 11pm would mean you should wait until at least 9.20am before driving.

Alan Gilson, Prevention Capabilities Manager at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said:

“One of our duties is to respond to road traffic collisions where there are people trapped and I have attended many incidents in my career where alcohol has been a factor.

“We all know that drink driving is illegal but many people may not consider the implications of a night out when it comes to driving the next morning. We are encouraging people to think ahead and consider their travel plans for the morning after, to use public transport where possible or arranging a lift from a friend or colleague.”

Jeremy Phillips, Devon County Council’s Road Safety Manager, said: “We would encourage motorists and passengers to plan ahead before attending festive celebrations. People put a lot of effort into planning parties at this time of year, so it makes sense to take a bit of time to consider how to make your journey to and from celebrations as safe as possible as well. Don’t get caught out by taking a chance on driving home or getting in a car with someone who has been drinking. Plan ahead – book a taxi, use public transport, carry emergency cash and make sure you or whoever is driving the vehicle you’re in is fit to drive the morning after.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Road Safety team will be attending late night shopping events at venues across Devon over the festive period, with a real-life crashed car and information about drinking and driving. They will be on-hand for information and advice as well as handing out useful free tools for measuring drinks at home, supplied in partnership with Drink Wise Age Well.

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