The Christmas party season may well be a time of fun and joy for many, but it is also a time when we must increase our awareness of the risks on the roads, and especially the dangers of consuming alcohol or drugs.
As workers, families and friends all come together to celebrate, it is perhaps easier to become a little complacent and have a “small” tipple, but we must remember, above all, that consuming alcohol or drugs before driving greatly increases the risks, which is why the penalties are so severe, to serve as a deterrent to those who risk their own lives and the lives of others.
For that reason, all of this week, the Guardia Civil traffic department, supported by National, Regional and Local police forces, will be carrying out intensified and extensive checks on alcohol and drug use on the roads of Spain, every day, around the clock.
The campaign runs until Sunday with officers out in force throughout the day, keeping a watchful eye out for those who may have been drinking, or consuming drugs.
Although it is common for the officers to seek out habitual offenders, this season also usually means an increase in those who would not normally drink and drive, and so they too pose a significant risk. The latest figures extracted from the most recent data available suggests that there may be around 12,000 drivers who met this continually dangerous criteria.
So far this year, the figure of those detected is approaching 100,000 drivers who not only risk their own but the lives of many innocent victims who all too often leave the scene of the carnage facing a life dealing with serious injuries and, on too numerous occasions, leaving the friends and families of loved ones having to deal with their death.
According to the annual report of the National Institute of Toxicology, the 39.09% of deceased drivers displayed the presence of alcohol or drugs in their blood. The figure rises to 40% when pedestrians are analysed.
Even the smallest amount of alcohol or drugs can affect driving ability and so, despite Spain having considerably lower maximum limits than countries such as the UK, the best advice is always zero consumption before getting behind the wheel.
Remember, the only safe limit is ZERO. If you are planning to join in the party celebrations, of course this is encouraged, just leave the car at home. All local towns have taxi services, with professional drivers who are happy to take you anywhere you wish to go, so you can enjoy a drink and let others drive.
The N332 project supports any campaign to reduce the number of deaths and serious injury caused by alcohol and drug use before driving. This year, officers from the Guardia Civil in Torrevieja have been collaborating with taxi drivers on the Orihuela Costa to join forces and encourage the use of taxis.
We have also created some graphics to support the campaign. Making the choice between two vehicles, the police car on the left or the taxi on the right, the N332 campaign slogan is #chooseright. You can download the Facebook ready images from the website below and share them with your friends, showing your support to #chooseright.
Of course we are based in Spain, but the advice is equally as valid wherever you might be. Enjoy the festive season, have fun, but never drink and drive, always #chooseright.
Local Taxi Numbers:
Orihuela Costa – 600 419 087 or 666 910 800
Torrevieja – 965 71 22 77
Remember, ALWAYS use official taxis.