Drive Safe this Christmas

Newcastle City Council are urging residents to drive safely this Christmas and avoid drink driving and using their mobile phones when behind the wheel.  

The Council Is supporting Balance North Easts proposal to reduce the drink drive limit, bringing it line with the Scottish limit of 50mg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

The current limit in England is 80mg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and is the joint highest limit in Europe. The amount a motorist can drink before being over the limit can depend on a number of factors, including their gender, age, weight, metabolism, stress levels and whether they have eaten, as well as the size and strength of the drink.

The Council is also supporting Northumbria Police’s Operation Dragoon with a specific focus on dangerous drivers who are caught using their mobile phones. Operation Dragoon, launched in March 2013, is Northumbria Police forces commitment to tackling dangerous driving across the North East.

The focus on mobile phones comes after several tragic accidents that have happened across the Country this year.  

Councillor Jane Streather, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing said “Christmas and New Year is a busy period on our roads and it is vital people drive safely.

I would like to remind people that the easiest way to make sure you are under the limit this Christmas is to have no alcohol. Being over the limit and behind the wheel not only endangers you and your passengers but other road users and residents.

If you are heading out to enjoy a drink plan you journey home in advance.

For the price of a taxi it’s not worth the risk”

Since April 2014 Operation Dragoon has dealt with over 1500 motorists driving whilst on their mobile phones, including 606 in 2015 alone.

The campaign is led by Northumbria Police, with support from local services, and is split into three branches: Enforcement, Engagement and Education.

Sergeant Phil Patterson, who leads the Operation Dragoon team, recently said “The nights are dark and road surfaces are icier, meaning it is vital that motorists treat roads with the road with respect and concentrate fully when they get behind the wheel.

Young drivers in particular think they can get away with playing on their phone but all it takes is for them to not concentrate for a split second and they will be involved in a serious collision.

A motor vehicle in the wrong hands won’t just kill one person, it could kill half a dozen in a split second. This is why it is so important for people to heed our advice.”

Operation Dragoon will continue into the New Year making roads around the region safer.

If you suspect anyone of dangerous driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving, whilst on their mobile phone they can contact Northumbria Police by calling 101.