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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 15:10 GMT
Christmas drink-drivers targeted
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling (right) and Coronation Street actress Sally Lindsay Sally Lindsay
Alistair Darling launched the campaign at the Rovers Return
A 2m Christmas drink-driving campaign has been launched by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.

This year, radio and TV adverts - targeting men under 30 - will advise avoiding alcohol altogether, rather than risk being over the limit.

Mr Darling joined Coronation Street star Sally Lindsay - aka barmaid Shelley Unwin - at the show's pub, the Rovers Return, to launch the campaign.

"We need to remind people that drink-driving can kill," he said.

According to statistics, 590 people died in drink-related accidents last year - 10 more than in 2003 and the highest number since 1992.

Adverts will warn motorists they cannot calculate their drink-drive limits and so should avoid alcohol altogether.

There is concern that people who drink into the early hours are more likely to be over the limit when they get into their cars in the morning.

Mr Darling said: "The reason we wanted to use the Rovers Return is because everyone in the country is aware of this pub.

"As far as I'm concerned the most important thing is to get our message across to the public and anything that does that is a great idea."

We will continue to come down heavily on those who endanger us all by drink driving
Alistair Darling
Transport Secretary

He said: "Sadly, the number of people who are being killed in drink drive related accidents has risen in recent years.

"Drink drivers need to remember that the police are out there and they will be caught."

The minister, who joked with the actress while sipping orange juice at the bar, added: "We will continue to come down heavily on those who endanger us all by drink driving."

Mr Darling said young men aged between 17 and 30 were of "particular concern", although he stressed that overall the UK's roads were among the safest in Europe.

This year's campaign was launched exactly a week after the government's new extended licensing laws were introduced.

590 people were killed in drink-driving accidents - the highest number since 1992
23% of 16 to 19-year-old drivers killed were over the limit
4% of all drivers involved in accidents leading to injury were over the limit
Men under 30 were most likely to fail breath tests after accidents
Department for Transport

The transport secretary rejected the suggestion that new licensing laws would cause particular problems this year, saying people also drank alcohol at home.

"If you want to have a drink, that is fine - but don't drive," he said.

The campaign will also coincide with an intensified police enforcement campaign across the UK.

A report published recently by the AA Motoring Trust suggested some young men showed an "alarming disregard" for safety when driving at night.

It said many tested their cars to the limit, others drove while drunk and some believed it was safer to speed in the dark.

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07 Nov 05 |  North East Wales
Record 35% rise in drink drivers
15 Sep 05 |  Cumbria

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