By Deborah Condon
Almost 800 people died on Irish roads between 2000 and 2004 as a result of drink driving, the National Safety Council (NSC) has said.
It has just launched a major new campaign in conjunction with the Department of the Environment (DOE) in Northern Ireland, which warns that 'just one drink is all it takes to impair driving and cause devastating consequences'.
Central to the campaign is a new 60 second television ad, 'Just One', which graphically portrays the consequences of drinking and driving.
"The stark reality behind the statistics and one of the hardest things for victims and their families to deal with is that drink driving does not happen by chance. Sadly, drink driving happens by choice", said DOE permanent secretary, Stephen Peover, at the launch of the campaign.
Just one drink can impair driving - NSC
Also speaking at the launch, NSC chairman, Eddie Shaw, said that choosing to drink - even one drink - and then drive 'is not sensible or normal behaviour'.
"The greater the number of people who drink and drive, then the greater will be the numbers killed and seriously injured on our roads. When the unexpected happens on our roads and it frequently does, then one drink can become a killer", Mr Shaw said.
Between 2000 and 2004, 793 people were killed in drink driving-related crashes in the Republic and Northern Ireland. In the run up to the festive season, the NSC is appealing to people to plan ahead and make alternative travel arrangements if alcohol is going to be consumed.
It has also highlighted the fact that if someone has had a lot to drink the night before, their blood alcohol level may still be in excess of the legal limit the next morning. It is also a myth that drinking coffee speeds up the elimination of alcohol from the body.
"None of us believes that it will happen to me. Mostly we are right - it doesn't. Someone else is killed instead. And that's ok?", asked Mr Shaw.
The television ad, 'Just One', will run on a number of stations, including RTE 1, RTE 2, TV3, TG4, Sky 1, MTV and E4.
it's pretty stupid to say just one drink impairs and don't drink drive when the legal limit is 0.8mg/ml. Take the only stand people seem to understand and make it a zero tolerance on alcohol when driving. Then tackle the Courts.