Have none for the road this festive season: Brake

Research shows that drinking any amount of alcohol can affect your driving. Photo eDriving

Road safety charity Brake is appealing to partygoers and organisers to ensure everyone in their group gets to and from celebrations safely over the festive season and summer.

With the country in the new Covid Protection Framework and people arranging Christmas parties and other gatherings, Brake is reminding everyone to plan their travel, and if driving to events, to make sure the designated driver stays sober.

Brake’s Driving for Zero campaign urges drivers not to drink any amount of alcohol or take any drugs before getting behind the wheel. The charity also urges family and friends to speak out to stop a loved one drink or drug driving.

Figures show that in 2019, alcohol and/or drugs was a factor in 137 fatal and more than 1500 injury crashes resulting in 160 deaths and more than 2000 injuries. Research shows that drinking any amount of alcohol can affect your driving.

Caroline Perry, Brake’s New Zealand director said: “As a charity that supports people bereaved and injured in crashes, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. We want everyone to enjoy this holiday season and get to their destination safely.

If you’re driving home from celebrations it’s vital you take your responsibility for people’s safety seriously. Even small amounts of alcohol or drugs increase your risk of crashing, so even if you feel okay after a drink, the reality is that if you get behind the wheel you’re putting yourself and others in needless danger. The only safe amount of alcohol to have if you’re driving is none.”

Brake is also working with e-scooter company Neuron to remind riders not to drink and ride, and to arrange safe alternative transport instead. Neuron’s Festive ScootSafe campaign will use social media videos and ScootSafe events to remind riders of key safety points when using e-scooters.

“Whilst it might be tempting to use an e-scooter after a few drinks, riding one can put you at increased risk of being involved in an incident, so organise safe, alternative transport such as a taxi or public transport instead”, Perry said.

Cold hard facts

Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood. Even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers’ reaction times, judgment and co-ordination.

Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they’re not.

Brake’s key messages on drink driving:

  • Never drink any amount of alcohol if you’re driving
  • It takes time for alcohol to leave your system. If you have to drive early in the morning, don’t drink the night before.
  • Plan ahead and make sure you can get home safely by using public transport, booking a taxi/rideshare, or having a sober driver who sticks to soft drinks. Don’t accept a lift from someone who’s been drinking.
  • Take responsibility for others: never buy a drink for someone who is driving, speak out to friends who plan to drink and drive, and if you’re hosting a party help your guests to plan a safe way home before the party starts.