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Grim statistics of 31 fatalities in Wiltshire as drink drive campaign is launched

Every week 11 people are killed by drink drivers, and more than 400 every year.  In addition, every year around 80 deaths are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit but who have some alcohol in their blood.

So far in 2011 there have been 31 fatal collisions in Wiltshire resulting in 32 fatalities, nine were within the 17-25 age group, which represents 28 per cent of total fatalities.

They are the grim statistics as Wiltshire launches its annual Christmas drink drive crackdown over the festive period, when every resource available will be used to catch guilty motorists.

And that those that drive the next day while still unaware that they under the influence of alcohol.

Ian Hopkins, road safety development officer at Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, told Marlborough News Online: “Firefighters are called to hundreds of road traffic collisions every year in Wiltshire, and we do everything we can to reduce the number of people who are killed or injured in this way.”

“We want people to enjoy Christmas – a drink or two may seem fun, but it could lead to a hospital stay or, worse, a fatality if you then drive.”

People are encouraged to leave their cars at home, and those who need to drive the following morning are also being asked not to drink.

The problem is that if you have been out drinking, you may still be affected by alcohol the next day -- sleeping, eating, having a shower, drinking a cup of coffee or other ways of sobering up do not help – it just takes time.

Nearly one in five people who are convicted of drink driving are caught the morning after and do not realise that they can still lose their licence if they are over the legal alcohol level.

Road shows are being held in Devizes, Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge, during December to highlight the issue.

Drivers visiting them will be able to see the remains of a car actually involved in a crash, and there will be a chance to speak to people who have been affected by fatal crashes, as well as Wiltshire Police officers.

Dick Tonge, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “This is not just an event for drivers or learners, but for everyone, as we all need to be more aware of how drink driving can ruin lives.”

“We want to show the consequences of drink driving, and how it can destroy the lives of families and friends of the victims and the drink driver.”

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