Catching the bus due to Christmas booze?

As Booze Britain stumbles headlong into the festive season at some pace – eating, swearing and drinking to excess – many will try to justify their behaviour by offering up a “come on it’s Christmas” type of comment. And, whilst feasting on the seasonal pleasures of life, how many people ever spare a thought for the consequences of their ‘celebratory’ revelry?

…festive excitement is swelling to a crescendo, but for some of the country’s most beleaguered workers, today will be the worst day of the year. It is “Mad Friday” – the peak of the Christmas period for alcohol related ambulance call-outs…(The Independent)

Many don’t think at all, it’s a factor highlighted in a recent initiative produced by Devon & Cornwall Police and their partner agencies. The aim of the Don’t leave your brain at home campaign is to “reduce alcohol related crime and disorder” in their region. However, much of the content is not area specific and therefore, the content is wholly applicable to other areas across the country.

In our mostly self-indulgent and self-interested society; few if any will show little or no consideration for the impacts of their actions upon their families or friends, let alone the emergency services and health workers who have to clean up afterwards.

In the capital many end their night by catching a bus, unlike elsewhere there are plenty about, but I’m not talking about the No #69! In London, like several other cities today, they also have the booze bus (see pictures). The ambulance service’s alternative response vehicle, which patrols London’s West End, is busier than ever at Christmas (see here).

In an evening, the booze bus has picked up several young professional women, bankers, businessmen, an ex-marine and a homeless person. A 38-year-old, well-dressed woman with a Cartier watch and Harrods leather coat is ordering the crew to get her a taxi…(The Guardian)

Occasionally, drunks will apologise and thank emergency services staff, if they can actually knit a sentence together. But many will spend their time being abusive and violent whilst covering their helpers in vomit. Despite the disgusting predominance of binge drinking in the UK, Christmas is also the time of the year where the ‘amateur’ drinkers turn out to hit the pubs and clubs in droves, making things even worse.

It’s one of the major reasons why, Christmas has never really been an enjoyable period for me. On the whole these ‘seasonal’ drinkers are often more of a problem than the regular binge drinkers and dealing with them can be a messy, thankless and even a dangerous task at times. For many years these aspects of the festivities have all helped in building up my hatred of Christmas.

Because of this propensity for people leaving their brains at home, the festive season is also marked with the ubiquitous police drink driving campaigns; annual events designed to get drivers to think before they drink. These events, carried out in every police force, form part of the national initiative fronted by the THINK! Drive safety campaign. An initiative run by the government’s Department for Transport.

Some key facts courtesy of drinkdriving.org

  • On average 3,500 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions.
  • Nearly one in six of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.
  • Approximately half of convicted drink drivers have blood alcohol levels in excess of 150mg. Around 12 per cent of convicted drink drivers are convicted of a second offence within ten years.
  • Drinking and driving occurs across a wide range of age groups but particularly among young men aged 17-29 in both casualties and positive breath tests following a collision.
  • Drink drive accidents can be caused by drivers of all ages, but the highest rates of drink drive accidents per 100,000 licence holders occur in young men aged up to 34, particularly the age group 20-24.
  • 40% of convicted drink drivers have previous convictions for other types of offences, and drink drivers are twice as likely to have a criminal record as a member of the general population of the same age and gender
  • And if you think you won’t get caught, more than half a million breath tests are carried out each year and on average 100,000 are found to be positive.
  • There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely.
  • If you’ve been out drinking you may still be affected by alcohol the next day. You may feel OK, but you may still be unfit to drive or over the legal alcohol limit.
  • Driving or attempting to drive whilst above the legal limit or unfit through drink can lead to imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000 and a minimum 12 months driving ban.
  • Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal limit or unfit through drink could result in prison, a fine of up to £2,500 and a driving ban.
  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, a minimum 2 year driving ban and a requirement to pass an extended driving test before the offender is able to drive legally again.
  • An endorsement for a drink-driving offence remains on a driving licence for 11 years, so it is 11 years before a convicted driver will have a “clean” licence again.
  • Drink driving is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE

With the demise of any decent public transport system outside of the city areas, I can partly understand the need for the car in some areas however, no matter how hard I try, I simply can’t get my head around why anyone would try to drive a car after drinking?

Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive – and there is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit…(Read more)

Don’t forget the police also use ‘booze buses’ but theirs are deployed for incarceration and transport of prisoners at times of increased demand during the drunken festivities; which type of bus do you want to catch?

And on a lighter note, a message from a friend…

As the Christmas spirit will be flowing over all the holiday festivities, I thought I would share this important message with you all.

I would like to share an experience with you all, about drinking and driving. As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from various social sessions over the years.

A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few too many beers and some rather nice burbon.Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I’ve never done before – I took a bus home.

I arrived home safely and without incident, which was a real surprise, as I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got this one. 🙂
Have a safe Christmas!

www.drinkaware.co.uk

Note: Drinkaware is an independent UK alcohol awareness charity that provides consumers with information to make informed decisions about the effects of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles… Don’t Leave Your Brain at Home!

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 16-12-2011, in Police, Society Babble and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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