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Shropshire Star comment: Taking drink driving risk never acceptable

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

It seems almost inconceivable that police should still be telling motorists not to drink or take drugs before getting behind the wheel.

It is 2018, not 1968, and there has been a sea change in attitudes in recent decades.

What was once acceptable no longer is. We have seen the death and destruction that drinking and driving causes. And so it many will be incredulous that there are still those who think it won’t matter if they get behind the wheel, after all, it’s only a short journey home.

Let’s be clear. It is never okay to pick up the keys to a car, van, bike, truck or any other vehicle once you’ve had a drink.

There’s no reason, no point. If people have enough money to drink, they have enough to get a taxi or jump on a bus.

It is thoroughly depressing to learn that Telford is the tenth worst place in the country for drink-driving with high rates of offences during the past 12 months. Some of those incidents will have resulted in road traffic collisions, people will needlessly have suffered injury and put the lives of others at risk.

One of the obligations we have as members of a civilised society is that evolve to respect new norms.

It is no longer acceptable, for instance, for factories to pollute rivers as once they did.

Nor is it acceptable for people to take dangerous risks at work, putting their health and safety in jeopardy. It is not acceptable to be racist or refuse to recognise the equalities that all people share, irrespective or race, gender, religion, sexuality or colour.

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Nor, by the same token, is it acceptable for people to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while they are not fit and able to drive it. For a vehicle in the wrong hands is a weapon – and the hands of a drunk/drug driver are only ever wrong.

So this Christmas, police will be taking safeguards to protect us and to protect the foolhardy from themselves.

And we too have an obligation to step in when we see people about to make bad choices.

We can save lives and livelihoods by refusing to let people drive when they are the worse for wear.

Though it might make us momentarily unpopular, the people whose licences, jobs and welfare we preserve will thank us for it later.

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