Environment Minister Mark H Durkan will this morning launch a brand new DOE anti drink driving campaign.
The hard hitting campaign includes a new television advert which specifically targets 18-24 year old males.
Significantly, in a subtle shift by DOE and given the targeted group, social media will be used extensively in the campaign. A two and a half minute advert will appear on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Speaking before this morning’s launch of the campaign at Derry’s Brunswick Moviebowl, Mark H Durkan said: “Drink/drug driving has caused over 2,000 deaths and serious injuries since 2000. That’s 2,000 devastated families.
“This new road safety campaign reinforces the need for motorists to ‘Never Ever Drink and Drive’.
“It stresses the impairing effects of alcohol on driving – even from the first drink. The message is designed to increase further the unacceptability of driving even after one drink, especially for younger males.
“PSNI statistics show that 17-24 year old males are most at risk of causing death and serious injury by drink and driving, either to themselves and other innocent road users. Our campaign is heavily targeted towards them with intense use of social media.
“All drivers though who buy and consume a pint or any other alcoholic drink should realise it could be the most expensive one they ever had – ultimately costing them or other road users their lives.”
Research shows impairment begins well below the current drink drive limit of 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The skills most critical for driving – the brain’s ability to observe, interpret and process information from the eyes and other senses – are impaired by alcohol even at the lowest levels.
The new campaign spells out the legal consequences of being caught drink driving, from imprisonment, to losing your licence and having to re-take your test.
It also tells the story of ordinary young men enjoying a night out and have their lives destroyed due to a delayed reaction.
Last year there were 16 deaths and 62 seriously injured casualties due to drink/drug related driving. This means that last year alone, alcohol and/or drugs accounted for over 20% of all road deaths.
The Minister continued: “The tragedy of these deaths and injuries is sorely felt not only by the bereaved families but by friends, colleagues and the wider community. This is a tragedy that could be avoided by taking the simple decision not to drive after having a drink.”