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Graphic showing Morning After campaign clock with England, Scotland and Wales footballs and text "Avoid driving penalty heartache during Euro 2020"

Avoid driving penalty heartache during Euro 2020

by Jonathan Kearney

As the UEFA Euro tournament approaches, Knowsley Council’s Road Safety team and Merseyside Road Safety Partnership are highlighting the dangers of driving the morning after drinking alcohol.

Many people will enjoy a few drinks as they watch the football and most wouldn’t even consider getting into their car and driving afterwards. However, there is a real risk that people who would never deliberately drink and drive may still be over the limit, or unfit to drive, the ‘morning after’.

This is because it takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to pass through the body. On average it takes around one hour per unit of alcohol, though this can vary depending on a number of factors.

Councillor Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “We know that many people will have a drink while watching the football and we want people to enjoy watching the Euros.

“The aim of this campaign is to make people think about how much they are drinking if they are planning to drive the following morning as they may still be over the limit or unfit to drive.

“You could be driving to work or going shopping and still be over the limit. You could even be driving your children to school and still be unfit to drive. Could you live with yourself if something happened?

“We are encouraging drivers to be aware of how long alcohol stays in the system so they can enjoy the football without putting lives at risk on our roads the next day.”

Merseyside Road Safety Partnership features local authority members including Sefton Council, St Helens Council, Wirral Council, Liverpool City Council and Knowsley Council, as well as additional partners including Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseytravel and Highways England.

Sarah English, Manager for Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, said: “The decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle the morning after drinking can have very serious consequences, not only for the driver but also potentially for other road users around them.

“We would encourage people to enjoy watching the tournament but to remember that your safety and the safety of others is vital. If you have been drinking the previous evening and are thinking about driving the next morning don’t take that risk.”

Paul Mountford, Merseyside Police Lead for drink and drug driving, said: “Merseyside Police will be conducting numerous roadside operations and breath and drug testing hundreds of drivers across Merseyside throughout this campaign to ensure that drivers understand the principles of this campaign – that the only safe drink drive limit is zero.

“Many drivers are unaware that even a small amount of alcohol may affect their driving ability, placing themselves at an increased risk of a crash and arrest. They may be arrested for ‘drink driving’ even if they pass a breathalyser if the officer considers them to be unfit.  This is particularly relevant the following day when many will not consider their driving fitness after a night’s sleep.

“We are also reminding drivers that we will not tolerate those who take illegal drugs and drive. Similar to alcohol, driving while under the influence of illegal drugs can place the driver and other road users at risk. Our roadside tests aim to not only detect these drivers but also deter them from getting behind the wheel.”

The main message from the campaign is not ‘don’t drink’, but ‘don’t drink anything if you are driving’ and ‘don’t drink heavily if you have to drive the following morning’.

The Morning After Calculator

The ‘Morning After’ calculator helps you to add up the drinks you consumed the night before and gives you a rough calculation of when you may be safe to drive. Visit www.morning-after.org.uk for more information. You can also download the app to keep track of what you’re drinking while you are out.

Free Euro 2020 wallchart

Knowsley’s Road Safety team has produced a Euro 2020 wallchart with all the fixtures on as well as information about our Morning After campaign. You can print your copy from here or if you are a Knowsley business email roadsafety@knowsley.gov.uk before Friday 11 June for free copies for your staff.