Drink-drivers warned - capture awaits

DRINK-drivers beware - this Christmas you stand a greater chance than ever of being caught in the act and being publicly humiliated for willingly endangering the lives of others.

DRINK-drivers beware - this Christmas you stand a greater chance than ever of being caught in the act and being publicly humiliated for willingly endangering the lives of others.

Today, as the Christmas season swings into gear, The Evening Star launches its annual pledge to name and shame anyone caught flouting the law by drink-driving during the festive season.

In a determined bid to deter people from flouting the law by getting behind the wheel while over the limit, every driver found guilty at court will have their name humiliatingly published in the Star.

Those caught are also likely to have their pictures printed so that they are forced to face the full shame of their potentially deadly acts.

The Star's tough stance has been in operation for more than a decade and in that time hundreds of irresponsible motorists have been exposed.

The importance of the campaign, which is supported by Suffolk police, was today made clear after shocking figures revealed that 353 drink and drug-drivers were caught on the county's roads in just the four months between July and October.

Most Read

Inspector Martin Barnes-Smith, from the force's roads policing unit, urged motorists to act responsibly.

He said: “It's important that all of us take responsibility in reducing serious injuries and deaths on our roads.

“Any opportunity to make people sit up and think about how drink-driving is socially unacceptable is a good way forward.

“Our own campaign is driven along the lines of how it can affect the drink-driver's life as well.

“Everybody should be aware of the obvious impact on those hurt or killed but if you get caught you end up being locked up, losing your licence and facing a long prison sentence.”

The police campaign, which begins on December 1, features a hard-hitting poster campaign aimed at bringing home the pain drink-driving can cause to those who get behind the wheel while over the limit.

The poster features drink-drivers locked in a cell with the headline: “It'll be lonely this Christmas.”

Insp Barnes-Smith said: “Most drink-drivers don't plan to break the law, but we want drinkers to plan their evening so they don't have to drive.

“Book a cab, choose a nominated driver or, if you are going to a party, stay at a friend's house.

“We would also urge people not to get into a car being driven by someone over the limit.”

The legal limit is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100millilitres of blood, or 35microgrammes per 100millilitres of breath.

However, police and road safety groups say drivers should drink no alcohol as it can affect driving ability.

JOHN Savile knows better than most the harm and destruction drink-driving can cause.

His life was changed forever when a boozed-up motorist ploughed head-on into his car, leaving him with a string of lasting injuries.

Today, Mr Savile, of Landseer Road, Ipswich, backed The Evening Star's Name and Shame campaign - and urged the courts to hand out tougher penalties to those who get behind the wheel while over the limit.

The 57-year-old said: “I was left trapped behind the wheel after the crash.

“It ripped my back apart, damaged my lungs and left a lump on my neck.

“The fire service had to cut me out of the car.

“Since that day, my condition has got progressively worse. I have good days and bad days, and winter is always a difficult time of year, but my life has changed for good.”

After the accident, in September 1994, the father-of-one was forced to give up his job as a truck driver because he was unable to climb into the cab.

Now registered as disabled, Mr Savile can only walk with the aid of a stick, and also uses mobility scooters to get around.

“I think the Star's campaign is brilliant,” he said.

“But I would also like to see tougher sentences. Penalties should be much more severe on those who drink-drive.

“There should be a basic jail term for those who do it.”

LEADING national road safety charity Brake today backed The Evening Star's Name and Shame campaign.

Brake, which aims to prevent death and injury on the roads through education of road users and campaigns for government improvements to road safety, emphasised the importance of clamping down on drink-driving.

Lorna Jackson, from the charity, said: “There is a common misperception that drink-driving is now socially unacceptable and no longer poses a risk.

“The reality is that last year 540 people lost their lives to drivers who chose to get behind the wheel after drinking too much.

“The Evening Star highlighting the number of people being convicted in Suffolk is a positive way to bring the frequency and severity of this crime to the public's attention.

“Brake urges all drivers never to risk drinking and driving.”

IN October, Vikki Coxon told how her life had been turned upside down when she was hit by drink-driver Kerri Mills.

Mills, 28, from Ipswich, admitted at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court to careless driving, drink-driving and driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Miss Coxon, a 24-year-old bar manager from Shotley, suffered horrific injuries when the car Mills was driving drifted on to the wrong side of the road and ploughed into her on August 27.

A reading of alcohol in Mills' blood showed she was more than twice the legal limit.

The crash meant Miss Coxon spent six weeks in Ipswich Hospital where she was given a blood transfusion, had 42 staples and 37 stitches and received extensive treatment for her leg injuries.

It is thought she will be in a wheelchair for up to a year.

Miss Coxon told The Evening Star she was serving her own sentence after being hit by Mills but added she was determined not to

think of Mills' court case, instead focusing on her road to recovery.

“I just want to get better now,” she said.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter