Free soft drinks for drivers in bid to cut accidents
DRIVERS are being encouraged to keep death and injury off Plymouth's roads this Christmas, by being offered free soft drinks in bars, pubs and clubs.
It came as Devon and Cornwall Police gave a stark message to people tempted to get behind the wheel after drinking during the festive period – don't.
The twin initiatives were launched today in an attempt to drive down the Christmas accident toll and persuade drivers to be responsible.
A designated driver scheme was unveiled in Plymouth, with a variety of drinking outlets signing up to the scheme.
The initiative from Plymouth City Council and the Best Bar None scheme, which has 60 Plymouth members, is a key part of this year's anti drink-drive campaign.
It means that anyone who is out on the town, but staying sober so they can drive their friends home, can get free soft drinks at participating venues.
Designated drivers will be handed a drinks card that will be stamped every time a free soft drink is handed out.
Among city centre venues taking part are the Berkeley, Roundabout, Mount Pleasant and Noah's Ark pubs.
Suburban pubs involved include the Ship at Elburton, the Plymstock Inn, the Blue Peter, Plymstock, the Post Office, Plympton, and the King's Arms, Oreston.
Those outlets taking part will display Designated Driver window stickers and posters.
Chief Superintendent Chris Singer of Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Christmas should be a joyous time for all, and we support everyone involved in the city's entertainment industry who will help people do just that. But rarely does a festive season go by without a family being cast into despair when a loved one is injured or killed, because they have driven after drinking at a Christmas party.
"If you are going out in Plymouth this Christmas, have a great time – but for everyone's sake don't drink and drive."
Cllr Chris Penberthy, the council Cabinet member for Co-operatives and Community Development, said: "We want people to be able to enjoy the festivities, but stay safe. So we are rewarding drivers who are being responsible and not drinking."
Mick McDonnell from Best Bar None added: "We as a trade hope that the people of Plymouth will embrace the initiative and that our city will be a safer place this Christmas."