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Xmas drink drive warning

PUBLISHED: 09:13 07 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 03 July 2010

The region's motorists are being warned that drink-driving this Christmas could leave them without their car for at least 12 months, a criminal record and a large fine.

The region's motorists are being warned that drink-driving this Christmas could leave them without their car for at least 12 months, a criminal record and a large fine.

A £1.2m THINK! campaign has been launched by the Department for Transport in a bid to cut the number of alcohol-related deaths on the roads.

As part of the initiative, designated drivers will receive offers on soft drinks in almost 500 venues across the region.

Road safety minister Paul Clark said: “Drink-driving ruins lives. Last year, 430 people didn't make it home to their families because of drink drivers.

“Anyone convicted of drink-driving will lose their licence for a minimum of 12 months - they'll also get a criminal record and a large fine. Don't ruin Christmas in a moment of selfishness.”

Chief Inspector Mike Bacon, from Suffolk police, added: “Drink-driving can have tragic consequences and I would strongly urge people not to do it. By doing so they may ruin their own lives as well as the lives of others - it really isn't worth the risk.

“Last December we saw an increase in the number of people we caught drink driving. This should act as a warning: if you drink and drive you will be arrested and prosecuted.”

The campaign was launched at the Wissett Plough pub, near Halesworth.

Landlord Nick Sumner said: “A conviction for drink-driving can ruin your life, not just your Christmas, which is why we are pleased to be supporting this year's Driver Friendly initiative. We want our customers to have a great time, but even one pint or glass of wine isn't worth it given the risk. We'll be happy to provide free soft drinks to support and reward designated drivers.”

The Driver Friendly initiative is supported by soft drinks manufacturers and pub chains across the East of England with offers on Coca-Cola soft drinks for designated drivers in more than 8,000 pubs nationwide and a variety of other promotions including discounts and free drinks.

More than half a million drivers are stopped and breathalysed each year with more breath tests carried out in December than other months. This year the police aim to carry out record numbers of roadside breath tests so drink drivers are more likely than ever to be caught and punished.

The Department for Transport also announced yesterday that an independent expert has been appointed to examine possible changes to the law on drink and drug driving.

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