Pools have joined with other football clubs across the region in backing a campaign by Road Safety GB North East to give drink driving the red card during Euro 2016.
Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle United have all thrown their support behind the campaign and Pools have done so as well, in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of drink driving and ultimately reduce accident and casualty figures during this summer’s tournament.
Pools boss Craig Hignett and First Team Coach Curtis Fleming have both given their voices to the campaign, which is urging people to leave their cars at home when they enjoy a few drinks while watching the games and to make sure they’re not over the limit the following morning.
“Everyone wants a good night out and to enjoy the football during the tournament but please be sensible,” Hignett said.
“Go and have a good time with your friends, but take a taxi home. Don’t ruin your life or possibly someone else’s by making a stupid mistake.”
Between 2011 and 2015, 42 people were killed on the region’s roads due to a suspected drink driver, while 263 were seriously injured. In 2015 along, 70 people were killed or seriously injured – the highest number for five years.
“Sometimes taking the car is just the easy option but a two-minute drive is only a five-minute walk,” added Fleming, in backing the campaign.
“If you get in to the driving seat of a car after drinking, you are getting in to a machine that could kill someone. It’s not worth it.”
The campaign is being launched as new figures show that June is one of the worst months of the year for recording serious and fatal drink drive accidents, and that almost half of accidents involving alcohol occur on Saturdays and Sundays.
Men are also much more likely to be at risk than women, with 83% of drivers who were suspected of drink driving, or failed or refused a breathalyser test, being male, while 69% of people injured were men.
“We don’t want to put a dampener on the party spirit – we know everyone is going to be getting behind England and getting together with friends and family to watch the games during the coming weeks,” explained Road Safety GB North East Chairman Paul Watson.
“We simply want people to plan beforehand and arrange a taxi or a lift home. Don’t take the car. And just as important is the morning after – you could be well over the limit for your drive to work.
“Remember, you don’t have to be drunk to be a dangerous drink driver.”