Steer Clear this Christmas drink driving campaign launches

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold pub in Southsea. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (14974-9)
Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold pub in Southsea. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14974-9)
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Teenagers caught on CCTV give themselves up after online appeal

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TODAY The News launches its annual Steer Clear campaign in a bid to rid our roads of drunken motorists who put lives at risk.

Landlords are urged to pledge to give free soft drinks to designated drivers from now until New Year’s Day.

It comes after figures published by Hampshire Constabulary revealed an average of one victim every week is killed or seriously injured on our roads as a result of a crash involving a drink or drug driver.

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern in Albert Road, Southsea, is backing the campaign.

He said: ‘My message is don’t drink and drive.

‘It’s a social taboo, it should never be done, it shouldn’t even be thought of.

‘We are blessed with taxi firms in the town and we have a good bus network so there is no excuse.’

Barry Kewell, landlord of The Northcote Hotel in Francis Avenue, Southsea, has also signed up for another year.

He said: ‘It’s really just about keeping people safe and encouraging sensible drinking.’

Steer Clear is launched as Hampshire police continues to conduct extra patrols to breathalyse and educate motorists as part of its annual crackdown on impaired drivers.

The force is also carrying out intelligence-led operations during the day and night to catch those who flout the law.

Sgt Rob Heard, Hampshire Constabulary’s road safety officer, said: ‘I think it [Steer Clear] is an excellent idea.

‘To try and encourage people to pick a designated driver by using a partnership approach with local pubs and clubs as well as encouraging a nominated driver allows them to still have a good evening out without drink-driving.

‘Just one drink can have tragic consequences.’

People are urged to text details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving to Hampshire police on 80999, including the vehicle registration number and approximate location or direction the car is heading.

If you want to join Steer Clear, email the name and address of your venue together with a contact name and number to newsdesk@thenews.co.uk

The scheme will be operating in participating pubs between 6pm and 9pm until, and including, New Year’s Eve.

Between these times the designated driver will be able to claim one free non-alcoholic drink – usually a lemonade, squash or cola. Days, times and drinks available in the offer can vary as it is at the landlord’s discretion.