Greater Manchester Police and other emergency services in the county joined forces in Manchester City Centre to highlight the dangers of drink driving by staging the aftermath of a road collision and showing how they work together to cut free and swiftly convey trapped drivers to hospital.
The dramatic stunt on Friday 1 June launched the start of this summer’s drink drive campaign. Last year’s campaign saw more than 5,000 drivers being breathalysed in June across the Greater Manchester area. Of those 311 tested positive and were arrested.
Over the whole of 2011 officers say 141 collisions occurred that were linked to drivers being over the limit. The year also saw a shocking rise in road deaths with 75 people losing their lives on the roads of the county an increase of 42 per cent on the previous year.
Emergency services are particularly keen to drive home the don’t drink and drive message this summer as they fear that people enjoying the Jubilee weekend and Euro 2012 may put lives at risk by getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Road safety campaigners point out that people driving at twice the legal limit increase their chances of causing a road crash by at least 30 times. Due to the many factors affecting inebriation they say that it is almost impossible to personally accurately guage how fit you are to drive and recommend drivers steer clear of alcohol altogether.
Convicted drink drivers get a criminal record, lose their driving licence for at least a year and have it endorsed for 11 years. They also risk losing their job and increased insurance premiums.
However, the real cost of drink driving is the devastating loss of life or life-blighting injury it can lead to agree emergency service chiefs.
“Police officers and colleagues in the fire and rescue and ambulance service face the carnage and devastation caused by selfish drink drivers far too often” said Inspector John Armfield from Greater Manchester Police’s Roads Policing Unit.
“Going to someone’s home and telling their loved one’s that he or she will not be coming home due to the thoughtless actions of a drink driver is without doubt the worst duty that can fall on a police officer.”
Area Manager Dave Keelan, GMFRS' Head of Prevention Services, said: "Our crews now rescue more people from collisions than they do from fires - so we see the devastation a smash can cause on a daily basis.
"There are many reasons to celebrate this summer but none of them is worth mixing drinking with driving because the consequences can be horrific."
Head of Service for Greater Manchester, Ged Blezard said, “The impact these types of road incidents have on families, friends and sometimes even emergency services staff is huge. On many occasions the scene of devastation can be upsetting even for the most experienced medical professional, especially when in many circumstances the accident could have easily been avoided.”
Karen Delaney from DriveSafe, Greater Manchester’s Casualty Reduction Partnership added: “‘Everyone gets so excited when watching the football and England’s potentials fortunes, it is easy to get carried away and go over the limit without realising it.
“It is extremely dangerous to try and calculate alcohol levels – it depends on so many factors, BMI, age, weight and food intake during the day. Those that attempt to calculate whether or not they are over the limit often find themselves being arrested for drink driving, or worse, injuring or killing themselves, or someone else.
“That’s why our message is ‘None For The Road’. If you’re planning on watching the match and having few drinks, don’t take the risk of getting behind the wheel, Greater Manchester has a fantastic public transport network and if all else fails just call a cab.”