Louth County Council encourages people to plan their journey home this Christmas party season

Louth County Council encourages people to plan their journey home this Christmas party season

Louth County Council has encouraged drivers and pedestrians to plan their journeys home in advance this Christmas party season.

With most workplaces and groups of friends set to head out in the coming weeks to celebrate Christmas, the local authority has advised people to be safe and never ever drink and drive.

The advice comes as Coca Cola once more launches its annual Designated Driver campaign. The aim of this campaign is to encourage people to give the ‘Gift of a Lift’ to friends and loved ones this Christmas by staying sober on nights out to ensure they get home safely.

Designated drivers can avail of two free drinks from the Coca-Cola range or an alcohol-free mocktail at participating bars and restaurants.

Free drinks can be claimed with digital vouchers that can be stored in the mobile wallet app and are available by free texting Coca-Cola to 50015 or by scanning a QR code displayed in participating bars and restaurants. Alternatively the free drinks vouchers can be requested from a member of bar or waiting staff when you arrive at one of the participating venues.

Commenting on the Christmas campaign, Adrian O’Sullivan, Road Safety Officer with Louth County Council said: “The Christmas party season is getting into full swing and it’s a time when many of us will be out celebrating. It’s important to plan ahead when travelling to and from home, whether by appointing a designated driver, refraining from drinking yourself or making other transport arrangements.

“It’s not worth taking a chance on driving if you think you are over the legal limit,” added Adrian.

“Research has shown that between 2008 and 2012 alcohol was a factor in 38% of fatal crashes in Ireland. We have had 10 deaths on County Louth roads to date in 2017 which means 10 devastated families who will be spending their first Christmas without their loved ones. I would appeal to everyone to ensure they have a safe and happy festive season and to take extra care when using the roads.”

Given the more difficult driving conditions typical of this time of year, November and December are already particularly dangerous months for driving with 17 deaths being recorded nationally in November. Statistics show that road safety is diminished further in these months due to the consumption of alcohol and speeding. Alcohol can also have an impairment effect on those intending to walk home after socialising too with crash data showing that alcohol could be a factor in 46% of pedestrian deaths.

You must take extra care the following morning too if you have been drinking the night before, as you may still have alcohol in your system. 11% of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol, occurred between the hours of 7am and 11am. If you are out socialising, please remember it takes roughly one hour for your body to get rid of one unit of alcohol, that’s a half pint, a standard glass of wine, or one shot. If you got to bed in the early hours and didn’t get a good night’s sleep, this will magnify the impairing effects of any alcohol in your system. The only cure is time.

Amongst the local bars participating in the campaign include McGeough’s in Roden Place, The Lisdoo on the Newry Road, The Windsor Bar and Restaurant on Vincent Avenue and Cluskey’s of Little Ashe.

More information and a list of participating venues in across the country can be found at www.designateddriver.ie or #DesignatedDriver. The Road Safety Authority have also teamed up with the Vintners Federation of Ireland to distribute 50,000 high visibility jackets to almost 4,000 publicans for distribution free of charge to their patrons to ensure they get home safely over the Christmas and New Year period.

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