‘Give drink-driving the red card during Euro 2016,’ say Sunderland and Newcastle United

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce

Sunderland and Newcastle United football clubs are calling on fans to give drink driving the red card during this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament.

Both teams are backing a campaign by Road Safety GB North East, which aims to raise awareness about the dangers of the offence and reduce accident and casualty figures during the tournament.

If people are having a few drinks while watching the games, they should leave the car at home, and think about whether they are still over the limit the following day.

Sam Allardyce

It is hoped it will persuade drivers to leave cars at home when they enjoy a few drinks while watching the games, which start on June 10 – and to make sure they are not over the limit the next morning.

As part of the drink drive message, Road Safety GB North East has materials for use during the tournament, including a Euro 2016 game planner, sweepstake and score predictor. Between 2011 and 2015, 42 people were killed on the North East roads due to a suspected drink driver, 263 were seriously injured, and a further 1,424 were slightly injured.

In 2015 alone, 70 people were killed or seriously injured – the highest number for five years.

County Durham has the worst record for drink driving accidents, followed by Northumberland, Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said: “We’re all really looking forward to Euro 2016, and hoping we will have something to celebrate if England do well. “If people are having a few drinks while watching the games, they should leave the car at home, and think about whether they are still be over the limit the next day.”

A Newcastle United spokesman said: “Any campaign that educates drivers about safe road-use, which in turn lowers the numbers of casualties and fatalities across the region, is one we’re right behind.

“It’s reckless, dangerous and against the law – leave your car at home, that includes the morning after.”

Road Safety GB North East say the campaign is being launched to coincide with the tournament because alcohol consumption was expected to rise sharply.

Chairman Paul Watson said: “We don’t want to put a dampener on the party spirit – we know everyone is going to be getting behind England and getting together with friends and family to watch the games during the coming weeks.

“We simply want people to plan beforehand and arrange a taxi or lift home. Don’t take the car.

“Remember, you don’t have to be drunk to be a dangerous drink driver.”

New figures show that June is one of the worst months of the year for recording serious and fatal drink drive accidents, and that almost half of accidents involving alcohol occur on Saturdays and Sundays.

To download copies of the Euro 2016 wall planner, sweepstake and score predictor, go to http://bit.ly/1TDzxa4.

For more information about Road Safety GB North East and the campaign, go to www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/regions/r3.html.