Charity appeals to drivers: not a drop, not a drag this festive season

Brake, the road safety charity is calling on New Zealand drivers to commit to staying sober if driving home from Christmas festivities; or plan to get home by another means. Brake is also appealing to partygoers and organisers to ensure everyone in their group gets to and from celebrations safely.

With the festive season in full swing, Brake is reminding everyone to plan their travel, and if driving to events, making sure the designated driver stays sober.

Brake's Not a Drop, Not a Drag campaign urges drivers not to drink any amount of alcohol or take any drugs before getting behind the wheel. The charity also urges family and friends to speak out and stop a loved one drink or drug driving.

Figures show that in 2015, alcohol and/or drugs was a factor in 88 fatal and over 1,100 injury crashes resulting in 90 deaths and over 1,500 injuries [1]. Research shows that drinking any amount of alcohol can affect your driving [2].

Caroline Perry, Brake's New Zealand director said: "As a charity that supports people bereaved and injured in crashes, we witness the devastating consequences of drink and drug driving, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. Drink and drug driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving behind traumatised families to pick up the pieces. If you're driving home from celebrations this festive season, especially if you're a designated driver, it's vital you take your responsibility for people's safety seriously. It's a proven fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs inflate your risk of crashing. So even if you feel okay after a drink, the reality is that if you get behind the wheel you're putting yourself and others in needless danger."

Leah Abrams, Founder and CEO of NESA, No one Ever Stands Alone, echoes Brake New Zealand's call for everyone to play their part during this Christmas season to ensure that everyone on the roads gets home safely: "If you do see someone who has been drinking getting behind the wheel, call the police, it protects them and all the other drivers. Getting drink-drivers off the roads does save lives."

Facts
Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [3]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination [4]. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [5].

Brake's key messages on drink driving:

  • Never drink any amount of alcohol if you're driving
  • Never drink if you're driving early the next morning
  • Plan ahead and make sure you can get home safely by using public transport, booking a taxi, or having a sober driver who sticks to soft drinks. Don't accept a lift from someone who's been drinking.
  • Take responsibility for others: never buy a drink for someone who is driving, speak out to friends who plan to drink and drive, and if you're hosting a party help your guests to plan a safe way home before the party starts.

Brake is calling on members of the public to play their part in making roads safer by signing Brake's Pledge at www.brake.org.nz/pledge, to make a personal commitment to use roads safely and sustainably, and help reduce the lives lost needlessly on our roads.

[1] Alcohol and drugs crash fact sheet, Ministry of Transport 2016

[2] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

[3] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

[4] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

[5] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

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