An array of campaigns are taking place this month which aim to highlight the damaging impact of drinking-driving, not just on the blameless victims of this offence but also on those who perpetrate it.
Car accident compensation can often prove a major lifeline for victims of drink-drive accidents, although the injuries that people suffer can be long-term and serious. It is therefore extremely positive that major efforts are taking place at present to put an end to this dangerous and irresponsible behaviour.
The Think! drink-drive initiative is being run once more this year by the Association of Chief Police Officers, with TV advertisements focusing on the consequences of being caught over the limit, including losing one’s licence, livelihood and even their life.
However, while educating motorists on the impact of their actions will play an important role in tackling the problem, it is imperative to remember the victims who often come off much worse in these accidents through no fault of their own.
Chartered legal executive and head of the road traffic accident team at Hayward Baker Alison Spriggs states: “[Any] victim of a drink-drive incident should contact Hayward Baker’s dedicated Road Traffic Accident Team who have experience of dealing [with] this type of claim.”
At present, the legal limit for alcohol consumption stands at 35 microgrammes per 100 ml of breath or 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. However, plans have now been put forward in Scotland to reduce the limit to 50 mg per 100 ml of blood, with the proposal garnering significant support and calls are being made to extend this change to the rest of the UK.
Chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Tom Mullarkey said: “There is conclusive evidence that reducing the drink-drive limit will significantly reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”
Meanwhile, figures from RoSPA reveal that alcohol can have a significant detrimental impact on the ability of motorists to drive safely, with drivers who have between 50 to 80 mg of alcohol in their blood more than twice as likely to be involved in accident, while those who are double the legal limit are 50 times more at risk.
Ms Spriggs added: “Fortunately, most people suffer relatively minor injuries in road traffic accidents, and the more serious injuries are few and far between.
“The most common types of injuries in road traffic accidents are whiplash or soft tissue injuries to the neck, back and shoulders.”
Whiplash injury can be difficult to diagnose, but there are a number of key symptoms that can affect victims of traffic accidents. The injury occurs when the body undergoes a violent motion and the ligaments of the neck or back are strained.
This can result in significant discomfort, including stiffness, tenderness, reduced mobility and headaches, all of which can take many months to heal.
With this in mind, road safety charity Brake has now launched its ‘not a drag, not a drop’ campaign, which urges motorists to abstain completely from drinking or taking any form of illegal substance if they are planning to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
According to Ellen Booth, chief executive of Brake, this time of year can be particularly hard on the families of those who have lost loved ones due to drink-driving, with Karen Strong – the mother of a young man who was killed in a drink-related incident on New Year’s Eve in 2010 – backing the initiative.
Driver Max McRae was over the limit when he mounted the curb on that fateful evening, tragically killing 21-year-old Jamie Strong as he walked home from a local takeaway with his friends.
As a result, Ms Strong is now a vehement supporter of a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving in the UK and argued it is extremely important to spread the message that drinking and driving do not mix and can result in serious accidents that can wreck the lives of not only the driver themselves, but also innocent members of the public.