A new £740,000 THINK! drink-drive campaign is being launched by the government after studies showed two-thirds of motorists would be devastated to lose their car.
The campaign, announced today by Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond, will drill home the heavy costs of drink-driving through radio adverts, pub posters and a short online film.
It follows an AA-commissioned survey, which found almost a third of motorists are happiest behind the wheel (31%) and rely on their car to maintain friendships (32%).
The survey also discovered more than three-quarters of 18-24 year-old motorists (76%) said they would find it difficult to see friends and do the things they love without a car.
Meanwhile, 88% of those respondents said they would be devastated if they could not drive, and having a car is the best thing in 16% of respondents’ lives.
“Drink driving is a menace and drivers should be clear that if you get behind the wheel over the limit this summer, you will lose your licence, get a criminal record, and face a fine,” said Mr Hammond.
“You could even end up in jail.
“The findings of this poll are clear; drivers love their cars and a drink driving conviction would not only leave a massive hole in their pockets, it would leave a massive hole in their lives.
“Nobody wants to spend their summer in a prison cell so whether you are drinking in the pub or at a friend’s barbeque, make sure you do not drink and drive – it could have devastating consequences for you and for others.”
The THINK! campaign is being launched alongside plans by the Association of Chief Police Officers to carry out extra checks on motorists over the summer.
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead for roads policing, said: “Police take this offence very seriously and experience shows us that courts take a very dim view of anyone who is caught.
“It is appalling that in 2013 we still have to remind people not to drink or take drugs and drive.
“To combat this we will be stopping and testing thousands more drivers throughout the month of June.
“For causing death whilst driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drivers could face 14 years’ imprisonment.
“These deaths are avoidable if drivers simply make the decision not to drink or take drugs and drive, or make alternative arrangements to get home from summer time events.”
The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculated that the cost of a conviction could be up to £50,000.
This is based on someone losing their job for as a result of their conviction, receiving the maximum fine, the average cost of legal fees and increased insurance premiums.
Edmund King, President of the AA, added: “It’s not just freedom of the road drivers lose by drink-driving – it’s freedom, full-stop.
“Even if drink driving doesn’t end in a crash, it is likely to lead to a separation from the car for at least 12 months if caught.
“If you are going to drive, don’t drink and if you are going to drink, don’t drive.”
Image courtesy of West Midlands Police, with thanks.