The PSNI and An Gardai Siochana have teamed up at the Derry-Donegal border to launch an appeal for local people not to drink and drive this Christmas.
Stark warnings were issued over the potentially lethal consequences of drink driving during the launch of the festive crackdown, which was staged at Bridgend on Friday morning.
PSNI Road Policing Commander, Inspector Steve Haslett said: “Today is about highlighting the fact that people should not be getting behind the wheel of a car if they have been drinking at all. Particularly this weekend when people will be going out to enjoy themselves, we are urging them not to take one drink.
“The consequences are very serious. There have been 145 serious and fatal collisions in Northern Ireland in the last three years attributable to drink and drugs.
“The message is very clear: it does impair your driving, it does cause death and serious injury, and how would you feel if you paralysed a member of your family? How would you feel if you killed an innocent person?
“Then there’s the consequences of losing you license- would you lose your job? Lose your home, and then travelling to some countries would be out of the question if you had a criminal conviction for drink driving.”
How would you feel if you paralysed a member of your family? How would you feel if you killed an innocent person?PSNI Inspector Steve Haslett
An Garda Siochana Traffic Inspection Donegal Division Inspector Michael Harrison said that the Christmas period was always busy for officers on both sides of the border.
He said: “Every year the PSNI and ourselves come together to release a joint message asking people no to drink and drive on the roads in this area.
“Drink driving is a major contributor towards road deaths, It doesn’t recognise the border so our appeal to all drivers over the Christmas period is not to drink and drive.
“If you are going out, if you are going to a party, make sure you have a designated driver, make sure you have taxis organised, that you know how to get home, but please don’t drink and drive in the north west.
“You could kill yourself, kill a loved one or a completely innocent bystander, as we have had in this area.
“We have had a number of incidents in this area on both sides of the border where alcohol has been a major factor in serious and fatal road traffic collisions.”
Senior road safety experts and representatives joined specialists from the two forces at the launch.
Davy Jackson from the Road Safety Council Northern Ireland said it was vital to get the road safety message out before Christmas.
Mr Jackson said: “This time of year more people are likely to take a drink with the parties going on; driving the next morning, not realising they are over the limit.
“One drink is too many. If you are going out for the night get a designated driver and let them do the driving. You are as well avoiding it at all costs.”