Holiday safe drinking campaign launched

A number of organisations have launched campaigns to try to keep Cayman’s roads safe this festive season.

Police are currently carrying out their road safety enforcement campaign to detect drink driving and speeding offences.

The police campaign started on 6 November this year and will go until 8 January. So far during this campaign, police have charged 28 people for driving under the influence. During last year’s campaign, which ran from 7 November to 9 January, they arrested 31 people for drink driving offences.

‘[The] RCIPS actively target people who drink and drive throughout the year – not just during festive campaigns,’ police Public Relations Officer Janet Dougall said.

Throughout 2008, 321 people were charged with driving under the influence, an increase of 18 per cent on 2007.

Be Smart campaign

The National Drug Council has launched its ‘Be Smart’ holiday campaign to urge partiers to drink responsibly this holiday season.

The campaign, run jointly with Hollywood Theatres and local restaurants and bars, involves advertisements promoting responsible drinking and contains advice on mature enjoyment of drinking while reminding people about the dangers and social responsibility of alcohol consumption.

The campaign urges people not to drink and drive, to designate a driver or take a taxi home.

The first part of the campaign includes radio and TV public service advertisements that encourage people to be responsible. The second includes a ‘holiday survival’ ad that highlights the dangers of irresponsible drinking by advocating moderation, avoiding drinking and driving and highlighting risks associated with morning-after intoxication.

The NDC is providing tips on how to prevent over consumption and ensure that individuals get home safely this holiday season.

Among these tips is for hosts of parties not to be overly generous when refilling guests’ glasses and to invest in a spirit measure so they can serve the same size measures as bars, thus enabling their guests to keep track of whether they are over the legal alcohol limit. They also advise hosts to have plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives.

Bars and restaurant owners and managers are urged to make staff the ambassadors of responsible drinking.

Poster campaign

The Road Safety Advisory Council, with the police, is issuing 20,000 business cards and 250 posters, urging members of the public not to drink and drive.

The card contains taxi telephone numbers so drivers will always have the number of a cab handy if they get carried away with the spirit of the season and imbibe too much.

The campaign is running on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, said Aileen Samuel of the advisory council.

‘We’ve been running this for 16 years, and it’s really caught on,’ Ms Samuel said.

Designated drivers

Drivers should ask if the bars and restaurants they frequent have a designated driver programme, as some venues offer free non-alcoholic beverages all night for those drivers.

‘Drinking and driving wrecks lives; it can result in you being arrested, losing your license and ultimately being responsible for taking someone’s life,’ according to the NDC’s ad campaign.

Drivers should be aware that if they have consumed a lot of alcohol the night before, they may still be over the legal alcohol limit the next morning, and could still risk a fine or imprisonment.

The campaign reminds people that the body gets rid of roughly one standard drink – one beer, standard mixed drink, or a glass of wine – per hour.

‘We have found that when drinking, many people do not consider what a standard drink is and the amount of time it takes their bodies to eliminate it. When it comes to the morning after and getting into your car to drive, not knowing how much you have drunk is extremely dangerous as you may still have alcohol in your system,’ said Joan West-Dacres, executive director of the National Drug Council.

‘There are lots of myths out there about cures to become sober. However, the only cure is time when it comes to the morning after,’ she added.

Telephone numbers of taxi companies have been placed at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs throughout Cayman to make it easy to call a taxi if a driver thinks he or she has consumed too much alcohol.

This is the latest campaign to be launched on island to encourage safety during the holiday season when alcohol flows freely.

Purple Ribbon

Another road safety campaign under way is the Purple Ribbon Pledge by Hurley’s Entertainment which runs Z99 and Rooster 101 radio stations. This campaign urges people to place a magnetic purple ribbon on their vehicles to signify their commitment to avoid drinking and driving this holiday season, and encourage friends and family to drive responsibly.