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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Free alcohol in road safety campaign
Beer
The scheme is running until the end of September
Motorists in Oxfordshire are being offered free beer and wine in an attempt to encourage them not to drink and drive.

"Pay Back Drink" is being run by Oxfordshire County Council's road safety team with the pub company Morrells of Oxford and campaigners.

The scheme allows designated drivers to identify themselves to bar staff at selected Morrells pubs where they are given a collector card.

Each time they buy a soft drink it will be stamped and when they are not driving it can be exchanged for a free pint of beer or glass of wine.

The initiative is part of The Portman Group's "I'll Be Des" campaign to encourage designated drivers.

'Difficult to stop'

Ian Harris, from Oxfordshire County Council, said the scheme should appeal to younger drivers.

"The trouble is, I think, that often they go out with the best of intentions and say 'I'll lay off the drink and stick to soft drinks' but then they get tempted to have an alcoholic drink and once you start, unfortunately, it's difficult to stop.

"This is why we find this scheme is so positive because if they say 'OK I'll be the designated driver tonight' it does seem to work," he added.

The scheme has been timed to coincide with a traditional rise in offences.

Tim Bird, from Morrells, said: "Summer is a key time for drink-driving with more offences occurring at this time than in the build-up to Christmas and New Year."

The scheme is running in Oxford until the end of September.

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See also:

04 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Drink drive campaign targets youth
05 Apr 01 | Health
Drink and tiredness cause crashes
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