AN ALCOHOL-free bar was on offer as police urged motorists to stay off the booze at the launch of their annual drink-drive campaign.
Passers-by were able to get a taste for the soft option as the bar was set up on Palace Green by Durham Cathedral as Durham Constabulary hoped to get across their message that “The only safe drink is a soft drink”.
Traffic officers were at yesterday’s event, to hand out leaflets and other promotional material to encourage safe driving.
Northumbria Police is also launching its Christmas campaign warning that those who choose to drink and drive risk their own lives as well as others.
The force’s month-long crackdown will begin tomorrow, with additional breath tests being carried out by traffic officers alongside their normal observations.
All drivers involved in crashes during December will be breath tested, as well as those stopped for speeding or suspected of being drunk behind the wheel.
Northumbria Police motor patrols Chief Inspector George Maratty said: “As always, we will be working hard to make sure the roads are safe for everyone over the festive period. As well as routine and additional breath tests, we will be using information from our communities to target those suspected of drink driving so we can stop them before there are any serious consequences.”
The initiative is being backed by Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, who said: “This is a simple message which everyone needs to be aware of. Drinking and driving wrecks lives. The small minority of irresponsible motorists who get behind the wheel after having a drink are risking not only their lives and livelihoods but that of other law abiding members of the public.”
“We need people to stop and ask themselves how they are going to get home. The obvious advice is to be responsible and don’t drink before driving. However, there are always options to get home,” Chief Insp Maratty added.
“Always ensure someone in your group remains sober and acts as the designated driver, use public transport or book a taxi.
“Doing one of these simple things could actually be life changing and the difference between getting home safely or causing death or injury to yourself or others.”
Anyone who suspects someone of drink driving is asked to call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.