Police launch campaign to crack down on Christmas drink-driving – with interactive map showing East Devon and Exeter pubs offering free soft drinks to ‘Lift Legends’

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched its Christmas crackdown of drink-driving with a campaign in which some pubs and bars will offer free soft drinks to designated drivers.

The interactive map below shows which licensed premises in East Devon and Exeter are taking part in the ‘Lift Legend’ scheme.

It runs until January 1, 2022, and is a ‘modern approach’ to the annual initiative, says the force.

On the purchase of their first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have their second free of charge at participating venues.

Breath tests will also be requested from all drivers who commit a moving road traffic offence, irrespective of whether or not they are suspected a drink-driving offence.

Officers will also be carrying out intelligence-led fixed site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, of the force’s roads policing team, said: “It is vital we do all we can to ensure anyone on a night out is able to get home safely.

“Our new initiative aims to encourage those heading out for the night to plan who is going to be their Lift Legend.

“Despite long-term reductions, drink and drug driving still accounts for 15 per cent of road deaths and almost 10,000 casualties nationally each year.

“During last year’s Christmas campaign, officers in Devon and Cornwall carried out 1,348 breath tests and charged 163 people with a drink drive-related offence.

“Alongside the Lift Legend education campaign, officers will be out in force rigorously targeting those who are a danger on our roads, day or night.

“It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t seek out lifts from those you don’t know or who aren’t licenced such as through social media networks. Only get into a vehicle with someone you know and trust.

“Alcohol and drugs impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving; reaction times and spatial awareness are affected significantly.

“This may still be the case the morning after, depending on how much alcohol is consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking.

“If police think you are unfit to drive through consumption of alcohol, even if your breath test registers lower than the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, you can still be arrested and may be charged with an offence. In short, you do not have to be drunk to be a drink driver. Don’t risk it.

“It’s not just you that’s at risk. You could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoiding this happening is as simple as planning ahead, leaving the car at home, and using a taxi, public transport or designated driver to get home.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez added: “Drink-driving is completely unacceptable – it puts the driver, passengers and innocent members of the public at substantial risk.

“Those found guilty of this crime face losing their licence and even going to prison, which could cost you your job and livelihood.

“This doesn’t just apply to people who are on a big night out, those driving the morning after a few drinks could also unexpectedly be over the limit and unfit to drive.

“The good news is there have never been more alternatives to drinking and driving.

“Jump in a taxi, Uber, bus, train or call a friend or relative for a lift.

“There’s also a huge variety of great-tasting, non-alcoholic drinks available so why not ditch the booze and be a Lift Legend for the night?

“Please don’t make this Christmas a time to remember for all the wrong reasons.”

St Austell Brewery is getting behind the campaign across 38 of its venues across Devon and Cornwall.

  • If you have information about anyone who has been drinking or taken drugs and is about to drive, call police on 999 with the make and model of the vehicle, registration number and direction of travel.

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