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Caithness News Bulletins November 2004

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Although now deemed to be socially unacceptable, Drink Driving is still a problem in the Highlands. the "Too Many for the Road" Drink Driving Campaign is being launched in a bid to combat this. The campaign centres on encouraging members of the public, particularly in rural areas of Highland, to report Drink Drivers to the police using the Crimestoppers number.

This is a partnership campaign between Highland Drug and Alcohol Action Team, local Drug & Alcohol Forums, The Highland Council Road Safety Unit, Crimestoppers and Northern Constabulary covering Ross & Cromarty, Skye & Lochalsh, Caithness and Sutherland areas over the Festive period 2004. The campaign is a pilot, which may be extended to the rest of Highland next year.

Key-fobs and tax disc holders with the "Too Many for the Road?" message and Crimestoppers telephone number on them will be distributed to over 150 outlets across these areas thus involving the whole community in making the campaign successful. Outlets will include local shops, Council Service Points, libraries and police stations.

Community participation is vital, as highlighted in recently published National Research on last years Festive Safety Campaign. It showed that 66% of those surveyed would report someone who appeared over the limit and was going to drive. Encouraging the general public in the North Highland Area to do just that will help reduce the number of drink driving incidents and positive breath tests that happen on our roads each year.

National estimates show the number of drink-drive accidents fell by 5% between 1992 and 2002 from 860 - 820, however the number of casualties rose by 3% from 1230 - 1270. One incident or casualty is still one too many!

Lisa Graham, The Highland Council's Road Safety Officer, said "There is no failsafe guide on how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safety. It depends on many factors including weight, age metabolism etc. The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive. It takes less than you might think for your body to be impaired by alcohol."

The new Chair of Highland Drug & Alcohol Drug Team, Councillor Val McIver, said: "Drink driving is still a serious issue for the Highlands, especially in rural areas. It has a huge impact on families and communities and it is crucial that communities are part of solutions to tackle drink driving.  Everyone in Ross & Cromarty, Skye & Lochalsh, Caithness and Sutherland can play their part by picking up the free key fobs and tax disc holders and report drink drivers to Crimestoppers."

Matt Richards from Crimestoppers said: "Too many for the road, but never too many for the phone. Crimestoppers is keen to keep the calls coming in where the dangerous and selfish crime of drink driving is concerned. Callers can speak to us anonymously and expect a fast response. In 2004 so far the 0800 555111 number has been responsible for taking over 60 drunk or disqualified drivers out of their cars and of our roads."