30/11/2009

Coke 'Drives Home' Xmas Safety Message

A local soft drinks supplier has today launched its Christmas 'Designated Driver' campaign.

Taking place at Stormont, the initiative has been developed in association with the Department of the Environment and the Police Service of Northern Ireland in a road safety campaign aimed at reducing instances of drink driving this Christmas.

It will reward local 'designated' drivers with up to three free soft drinks from the Coca-Cola product portfolio.

Following its unparalleled success in 2007 and 2008, this year's Designated Driver programme will operate in over 200 licensed outlets and will feature a special 'Cool to Drive' road-show.

The high profile road-show will take place in selected Designated Driver outlets across the province and will offer local drivers the chance to take part in an interactive racing game and the chance to win vouchers from some of Northern Ireland's leading retailers.

NI Environment Minister, Edwin Poots said: "I welcome and support any initiative that improves road safety.

"With Christmas approaching, we have a duty not only to our own families and friends to ensure we are there to celebrate with them; we also have to ensure other people are able to celebrate with their relatives and friends too. The safest way to do that is to book a taxi or have a designated driver who will abstain from alcohol.

"Last year, 18 people were killed and 121 were seriously injured in collisions attributed to alcohol or drugs.

"All of these families’ lives changed forever the moment those drivers responsible took a drink and decided to drive home."

He continued: "My message today, to all drivers is clear: just one drink will impair your driving. It's your choice, your responsibility and your fault if someone dies or is seriously injured because you decided to drink and drive."

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland (pictured here with the Minister and Kylie Dunlop) added: "Our message is simple; just one drink can kill. Never, ever drink and drive.

"We do not want to be knocking on doors at any time of the year, but especially over Christmas and the New Year, to tell families that a loved one has been killed on the roads."

(GK/BMcC)

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