If you drink, don't drive

A HARD hitting campaign designed to cut the number of deaths caused by drink driving was launched today.The national campaign will cost £1.4 million and includes television, radio and cinema advertising.

A HARD hitting campaign designed to cut the number of deaths caused by drink driving was launched today.

The national campaign will cost £1.4 million and includes television, radio and cinema advertising.

Stark images of a car crash have been filmed to drive the message home to the worst offenders, young men aged between 17 and 29.

The launch in Ipswich today marked the start of the campaign in the East of England. In Suffolk alone there has been 170 drink-related incidents in the last three years.

The launch was held at PJ McGinty's pub in Northgate Street, where landlord Michael Collins is chairman of Ipswich Pubwatch.

Mr Collins said a hard-hitting campaign is needed to get the message across.

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"It's a good thing and is badly needed, my philosophy is that if you drink and drive you are a very silly person.

"Anyone who goes on the road after drinking is like having a licence to kill. I don't have a lot of problems here because my clientele don't tend to come here by car but I think there is more of a problem when people are driving to the country pubs to have a drink.

"My advice to landlords to is to try and make sure people arrive by cab and then help to arrange cabs to get people home.

"The campaign against drink driving has got to get stronger and stronger."

Speaking about the campaign on a national level, Road Safety Minister David Jamieson said: "Many people need to rethink how much they drink before they drive and this graphic campaign highlights the dangers of drinking even a small amount of alcohol.

"Far too many people are killed and seriously injured in road accidents involving drinking and driving every year. If you need to drive then don't drink – it's safer"

While Sergeant Chris Rodda, of Suffolk police's traffic unit, said: "Drink drivers will be caught and prosecuted.

"Our aim is to keep Suffolk;s roads safe for all users. Drink drivers are a menace to the safety of other road users."

In 2002, 560 people were killed in drink-drive related incidents and 2,820 were seriously injured.

Television ads will be screened for three weeks and will be aired again in the run-up to Christmas.

Do you have a story about drink driving? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Opinion – see page 6

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