We will name you and shame you

PUBLISHED: 15:15 30 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:56 03 March 2010

DRINK drivers who take to Suffolk's roads will be publicly "Named and Shamed" for their actions.

Tomorrow marks the first day of the Evening Star's campaign to expose the names and faces of those who risk death and injury by flouting the law and driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

DRINK drivers who take to Suffolk's roads will be publicly "Named and Shamed" for their actions.

Tomorrow marks the first day of the Evening Star's campaign to expose the names and faces of those who risk death and injury by flouting the law and driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

For the past five years, the Star has covered the court cases of those who have failed police breath tests in an effort to shame those who put others' lives on the line by ignoring the warnings not to get behind the wheel after drinking.

The identities of those who defy the drink-drive law have been splashed across the pages of our paper for all to see and readers across the world have learned of their actions via our website.

This year, as for the last five, our reporters and photographers will be at court throughout the next two months to identify all those prosecuted for failing breath tests in December and January.

We believe that drinking and driving is a crime that deserves the strongest punishment and offenders should be made to face up to their actions publicly.

Nigel Pickover, editor of the Evening Star, said: "For the past five years, the Star has revealed the identities of those drink-drivers who continue to flout the law and risk tragedy on Suffolk's roads in an attempt to shame them for their actions.

"Our campaign, to 'Name and Shame' those who take to Suffolk's road over the limit, puts faces to the crime that society will not tolerate.

"Throughout December and January, drink-drivers must realise that they face not just prospect of losing their license, a fine or prison, if they drive while over the limit. They also face the prospect that their shame will be featured prominently in the pages of our newspaper as we expose the names and faces of those willing to risk death and injury to those who use Suffolk's roads."

The paper's stance is backed by Suffolk Police whose officers have to deal with the carnage that results from road accidents where alcohol all too often plays a terrible part. They are the same officers who have to break the devastating news to families of those injured or killed in crashes which may well have been avoided.

Sergeant John Tubbs of the force's traffic unit, based at Martlesham, has attended hundreds of road accidents in his 27 years as a police officer and his seven years in the traffic section. Today, he threw his backing to our "Name and Shame" campaign, slamming the "selfish" and "irresponsible" actions of those who continue to recklessly ignore the warnings that alcohol and motoring do not mix.

"I think it's a great idea. I support it wholeheartedly if it stops drink-drivers who, on a regular basis, show total disregard for everyone else using the roads, including pedestrians.

"It's a totally selfish act," he said of drink driving. It's just not a good thing to do – totally irresponsible."

Successive campaigns over the years have "managed to convince the vast majority of the driving public that it's socially unacceptable to drink and drive," Sergeant Tubbs said. But there are still those, particularly in their late 30s to mid 50s, who think they won't get caught," he added.

"They will eventually have a serious accident or we will stop them because of the nature of their driving," he said, reaffirming the police's commitment to taking drink-drivers off Suffolk's roads.

"It is never easy telling the relatives of a victim who has died in a road traffic accident. It's never an easy thing and it's hard to get over the immediate grief that a family feels, especially when you're telling parents of a child that has died – even if that child is in its 20s or 30s."

Sergeant Tubbs said that police were aware that at this time of year many people would be out visiting friends or going to office parties and officers would be on the look out for those who mixed a deadly cocktail of drinking and driving.

"We'll be fully alert to accidents and looking specifically to capture drink-drivers," he said.

Over the last festive period, 729 drivers were breath-tested by Suffolk Police between 18 December, 2000, and 2 January, 2001. Of these, six per cent failed the test – more than a 30pc rise in the failure rate on the previous year.

And over half of those motorists tested at the scene of road accidents were over the legal alcohol limit – one of the highest figures in the country and one which prompted Suffolk Police into taking the unprecedented step of extending its Christmas drink-drive campaign throughout the rest of January.

The Star's campaign is also endorsed by the East Anglian Ambulance Service, whose crews (like the police) have to deal with the real and terrible consequences of drink driving.

"Our crews attend numerous accidents throughout the year as a result of drink driving," said Matthew Ware, spokesman for the service. "It's traumatic for the crews to deal with the aftermath of accidents that only come about because people have had a drink before.

"It effects everyone, from crews to colleagues and families and it's usually the innocent victims who end up worst."

Dr Andy Mason has worked with Suffolk Accident Rescue Service treating the victims of road accidents for 27 years of his 30-years in the medical profession. He said: "Every year I can expect to attend a number of fatal incidents or ones involving serious injury where alcohol has played a significant part.

"Although we often talk about 'road accidents', the very use of the word 'accident' implies that the events were somehow unavoidable or that nobody could reasonably be held accountable for their occurrence. In fact, very few are truly unavoidable events."

Dr Mason had his own Christmas message: "If you drink and drive you won't have an accident – because any death or injury which results will forever be your fault. This knowledge could be very hard to live with, so PLEASE don't drink and drive."

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