Poll/Suffolk: Scheme to reward designated drivers with discounted drinks in December is launched

The launch of the Designated Driver Scheme at the Dove pub in Bury St Edmunds. Back row; pub landlor

The launch of the Designated Driver Scheme at the Dove pub in Bury St Edmunds. Back row; pub landlord Roger Waters, front row; (left to right) Inspector Bruce Gent, PCC Tim Passmore, Iain Watson of SCC Road Safety, Councillor Graham Newman and Sergeant Paul Ward. - Credit: Archant

Pubs in Suffolk are being encouraged to join up to an initiative which rewards designated drivers this Christmas.

The Designated Driver Scheme is part of a joint campaign between forces in Suffolk and Norfolk which will see them stepping up efforts to catch people drink driving.

The scheme will see venues which sign up reward designated drivers by offering them discounted teas, coffees and soft drinks over the festive period.

It ran last year at the same time when 88 drivers in Suffolk were found to be over the legal limit when tested by police.

And over the last few weeks the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership has been asking licensees to consider how they would feel if one of their customers was involved in a collision and encouraging them to support the campaign.

As pubs sign up to support the scheme, their names will be published on the Suffolk Roadsafe website www.suffolkroadsafe.net/desidriver.

In 2012/13 57 people were injured in collisions where alcohol was found to be a factor, while in 2011/12 74 people were injured and two were killed.

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Inspector Bruce Gent of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit said: “When drivers are prosecuted for drink or drug driving or are involved in road traffic collisions because of drink or drugs, the effect on their lives, their employment and their families is devastating.

“This scheme is a positive step towards offering drivers an alternative and encouraging them to take their turn to be the designated driver.”

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, said: “People who offer to drive their friends for a night out really deserve to be rewarded, and pubs that offer free or lower priced soft drinks to designated drivers are really helping to promote safer driving behaviour.

“I am fully in support of this campaign and I hope this incentive results in the decrease of drink drive incidents that seem to increase around this time of year.”

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner added: “Christmas is a time of fun and merriment and I thoroughly enjoy this time of the year; but for far too many people Christmas merriment fuelled by alcohol can seriously detract from the goodwill of the season.

“I find it really staggering that despite the obvious dangers and the huge amount of publicity, every year drivers risk their lives and the lives of others by driving under the influence of alcohol.

“I am really pleased to see the Constabulary is promoting the Designated Driver Scheme again this year and I would encourage licensees to join us in keeping in Suffolk safe over the festive period.”