Sadly, the launch of the police drink-driving crackdown has become as much a part of modern Christmas as the overly-early switching-on of town centre lights and the ubiquitous comedy jumper.
We say sadly, not because there is anything wrong with it – quite the opposite – but because these campaigns are still needed at all.
You would have thought that years of crackdowns, publicity, news reports and dire warnings would have almost eradicated the problem, but while it is seemingly on a downward trend, the figures are still sufficiently worrying to warrant the police’s actions.
Some people may wonder what the point is, and just accept it as a hazard of the season, but we wholeheartedly back the police’s attitude to this.
There is no reason why with continued work, drink-driving cannot be turned into a phenomenon that is properly shunned by society, and not tolerated by the ‘I’ve had three drinks but over a long period of time’ brigade.
Because too often people are happy to turn a blind eye if drivers ‘seem’ to be ‘alright’, even if in reality it means that their reactions could be seriously impaired.
After a concerted effort, anyone not wearing a seat belt is now seen as eccentric – and that is the result of years of public education campaigns – and it would be welcome if drink-driving was also rendered an unwelcome oddity.
And on the same note, we make no excuse for not just publicising the police campaign but also covering the court cases of those drivers who are caught over the limit.
No doubt everyone will have their reason for why they happened to blow a positive result at a certain time, but drink-driving is a strict liability offence with good reason – essentially there is no excuse for getting into a car when you have had a few.
If repeated publicity campaigns have no effect, then perhaps exposure in the media will do. Because frankly anything is worth trying to try to eradicate a very unnecessary source of pain and heartache.