Stars align to give drink driving the red card in Essex

07.50 | 14 June 2024 |

The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) has enlisted the help of former England goalkeeper David James MBE to ensure football fans come home safely during Euro 2024 this summer.

James is one of two stars to feature in the Euros Football Friend campaign, alongside Joe Thomas – famed for his roles in The Inbetweeners, Fresh Meat and White Gold.

The campaign highlights how planning a journey ahead of football celebrations can make all the difference between a good night out, a police cell, or worse.

It features two films. The first, with James, supports young men to make the right decision, before heading to the pub, by encouraging the use of taxis – and to watch out for their friends on an evening out.

David James said: “This campaign is one close to my heart, because I’ve experienced first-hand how drink driving can affect lives. My friend was hit by a drunk driver and suffered life-changing injuries.

“I urge everyone in Essex to show their support for the campaign, by sharing the films and spreading the campaign’s message that drink-driving is not okay, and it is not worth the risk. It can be easily avoided by having a plan in place, before you start drinking. Enjoy the Euros and stay safe.”


The second film features the campaign’s “Football Friend” strapline.

It illustrates the alternative transport options available to Euro revellers, including DigiGo, a shared public transport service which offers on-demand or pre-bookable travel in parts of Essex, and the Travel Essex App, which provides users real time travel information, to make an informed decision on their journey.

Joe Thomas said: “I wanted to get involved with this campaign because not only am I from Essex, but I am also, sadly, the same demographic as those overrepresented in drink drive collisions in Essex.

“The campaign message is so important- the risk is high, with very little reward, so I would ask everyone to think ahead before drinking, be that football friend during the Euros and share these films and graphics with your mates. Zero really is the only acceptable number of deaths and serious injuries on Essex roads.”


The Euros safer journey concept was a collaborative initiative, from SERP’s media team, Sarah Hammill, and Caroline Churchouse.

Caroline Churchouse, communications manager, said: “We were keen to send a positive message out to football fans this summer. We want them to have fun, but to be aware of the risks of drink driving.

“An analysis of collision data shows that young men are sadly most affected by drink driving, with at least 258 men under the age 40 killed or seriously injured in drink driving crashes on Essex roads, over the last ten years.

“This campaign forms a strand in our strive to Vision Zero, the shared objective of no death or serious injury on Essex roads, by 2040. We hope Essex fans take time to plan their journey, pre-pint, and match.”



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