It was a message that didn’t get through to the hundreds of drivers caught drinking and driving on the roads of Dungannon, Cookstown, Omagh and Fermanagh last Christmas.
Superintendent David Moore explained: “During the winter drink drive operation last year, we detected 273 people who took the risk of killing or injuring themselves, their family, friends and other innocent road users by deciding to drive after drinking.
“This figure was particularly disappointing, but considering that some of these people were so drunk, they could barely stand up, it just beggars belief that some people still insist on attempting to drive after drinking,” he said.
The PSNI will again be working with the Garda Traffic Corp in the Republic in a co-ordinated cross-Border campaign against drinking drivers.
Superintendent Moore continued: “If you find yourself asking the question, I wonder if I’m OK to drive? Or if you find yourself trying to calculate if you are under the drink drive limit, whether that’s after one drink, or the morning after a night out, just don’t take the risk. The consequences could be catastrophic.
“People don’t accidentally have a beer or glass of wine, they make a conscious decision. It only takes one drink to impair your decision making ability. The only right decision is to leave the car or motorbike at home if you’re drinking,” he said.
“I want all motorists to think about the consequences to yourself and your family of being involved in a serious collision. How would you feel if your actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed? How would you feel if some innocent person was killed,” he asked.
Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields, commander of F District, which includes Dungannon, said she was very concerned that 15 people have been killed on local roads so far this year.
She pointed out that the grim figure is already double last year’s total.
“This is why we are using the launch of the winter drink drive operation as an opportunity to issue an appeal for all road users to exercise caution and put road safety first,” she explained.
“I do not want officers 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,” she added.
“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seat belt and drove with greater care and attention then together we can reduce this preventable carnage on our roads,” said Chief Superintendent Shields.
Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said: “Unfortunately fire fighters, along with our colleagues in the emergency services, witness all too often the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed caused by irresponsible driver behaviour such as drink driving.
“We want everyone to be safe when out and about on the roads this winter and for drivers to never get behind the wheel after taking a drink. The consequences can unfortunately be fatal. Having attended 596 road traffic collisions this year and seeing their impact we fully support this campaign to reduce the pain, loss and suffering caused to individuals, families and communities caused by drink driving road traffic collisions,” said Mr. Ashford.