Road Safety Minister Mark H Durkan has made an impassioned plea for road users to take extra care over the Christmas period.
“Already this year, there will be 52 empty places at the dinner table this Christmas due to road deaths. Let us all do our best to make sure there are no more.
“I implore everyone to pay attention, slow down, wear your seatbelt and avoid driving when over-tired or if drink or drugs have been consumed.
“It can be tempting to take an unplanned drink, particularly at Christmas parties, and consider driving home. However, even small amounts of alcohol impair driving, so thinking that you can have one drink and drive safely is not realistic. Leave the car at home and use a taxi, bus, train or a designated driver who can enjoy complimentary soft drinks under Coca Cola’s Christmas road safety campaign.
“You may still be over the limit in the morning, so if you have to get to work, the shops or drop children to school the next morning, do not take a chance – make other arrangements.
“Lives can change forever the moment drivers take a drink and decide to drive home. Just one drink will impair your driving. It is your choice and your responsibility. ‘Never, Ever Drink and Drive’.
“Last year, five drivers or riders were killed and 35 were seriously injured in collisions attributed to alcohol or drugs. All of these families’ lives changed forever the moment those drivers responsible took a drink and decided to drive.
“I do not accept that anyone should ever die on our roads. That is why I want to encourage road users to sign up to http:/www.sharetheroadtozero.com and show their commitment to the ambition of zero road deaths in Northern Ireland, especially over the Christmas period.”