A Christmas sing-song in The Mall had a serious message on Thursday; “Enjoy the 12 days of Christmas and not 12 days of drinking and driving.”
A small choir formed by Luton Borough Council’s road safety team changed the words of some favourite carols to deliver the message.
Drivers were reminded not to drink and drive, and to be aware that they might still be over the limit the morning after a celebration.
Cllr Dave Taylor, Portfolio Holder for road safety at Luton Borough Council, said: “This year’s Christmas drink-driving campaign in Bedfordshire and Luton highlights the fact that many people remain unfit to drive the morning after enjoying a few drinks.
“Drivers need to remember it takes around three hours for every pint of average strength beer or lager to leave the body’s system after you stop drinking. So if you consumed four pints, it may not be safe to drive for at least 13 hours.”
More than 300 free breath-test kits were also handed out to help keep everyone safe and another 131 were distributed the previous evening during an enforcement session in Houghton Regis when drivers were stopped by Bedfordshire Police and required to take a roadside breath test.
Bedfordshire Police are carrying out enforcement of drink and drug driving throughout December, conducting roadside breath and field impairment tests, where relevant, with all drivers involved any collisions attended.
Motorists found guilty face a minimum 12-month disqualification as well as a fine and/or imprisonment.
The offence of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs now carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and a driving ban of at least two years.
Cllr Budge Wells, Deputy Executive Member for Sustainable Communities at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “Any alcohol in your system can impair your judgement, cause difficulty assessing road conditions and ultimately cause a serious collision. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed it is often still unsafe to drive the following morning, even after a good night’s sleep.”
There is no safe drink-drive limit so if you want to enjoy a drink this Christmas make sure you have organised a way to get home either through a designated non-drinker, public transport or a taxi.
Police advice includes:
* If you have to take the car, stick to non-alcoholic drinks rather than having one glass of wine or a beer and hoping you will be under the legal limit
* Take it in turns for one of your party to be the designated driver on nights out
* Use public transport or pre-book a registered taxi with a reputable company.
To help avoid a drink-driving ban use the ‘morning after calculator’ at www.morning-after.org.uk