Working in partnership with four of the region’s professional football clubs, Road Safety GB North East has launched a campaign to ‘give drink driving the red card’ during Euro 2016.
Supported by Newcastle United, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hartlepool, the campaign aims to raise awareness about the dangers of drink driving during the tournament which start on June 10 – and the morning after watching matches.
During 2015, 70 people were killed or seriously injured in drink drive collisions on roads in the north east – the highest number for five years.
The north east data also shows that men are much more likely than women to drink drive, with 83% of drivers who were suspected of drink driving, or failed or refused a breathalyser test, being male.
Young people are the most at risk age group, with 17 to 34-year-olds accounting for 64% of suspected drink drivers and 59% of casualties.
Road Safety GB North East also points to figures which show that June is one of the worst months of the year for serious and fatal drink drive collisions.
The campaign includes a suite of materials for use during the tournament including a Euro 2016 game planner, sweepstake and score predictor,
Paul Watson, chair of Road Safety GB NE, said: “We don’t want to put a dampener on the party spirit – we simply want people to plan beforehand and arrange a taxi or lift home. Don’t take the car. And just as important is the morning after. You could still be well over the limit for your drive to work. Remember, you don’t have to be drunk to be a dangerous drink driver.
“It takes an average of one hour for a unit of alcohol to pass through your body, so a pint of beer will take almost two-and-half hours to wear off, as will a large glass of wine. Remember, the majority of drinks amount to more than one unit.
“If you are drinking for a prolonged period until the early hours, chances are you won’t be legally fit to drive the next morning. Be responsible and let’s remember the tournament for all the right reasons.”
Sam Allardyce, manager of Sunderland, said: “It’s not a good idea to mix alcohol and driving. If people are having a few drinks while watching the games, they should leave the car at home, and think about whether they are still over the limit the following day. Let’s enjoy the tournament and be safe.”