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Tragic stories used to encourage safe driving

Daniel Crash Scene

8:04am 1st December 2014
(Updated 8:28am 1st December 2014)

LANCASHIRE Constabulary is urging people to consider the devastating consequences of drink driving this Christmas, by displaying two crashed cars in which two drivers who had been drinking tragically died.
 
Today (Monday 1 December 2014), the police will be joined by Lancashire County Council's Wasted Lives team and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service at the Flag Market in Preston where the crushed remains of the two cars will be on display.
 
Daniel Birch was just 23 years old when he was killed on 18 March 2012 at approximately 4am near his home in Coppull. He was driving home after a night out. Daniel lost control and collided with a gate post. The damage to his car was catastrophic.
 
Daniel was almost three times over the legal drink drive limit.
 
His parents, Helen and Stuart Birch, thought Daniel had passed his potentially troubled teens and they weren't "on his back as much".
 
His mum Helen said: "We want parents to realise that no matter what age their kids are, they need to be asking them questions. Just because they don't think they're doing it, doesn't mean they're not."
 
Matthew Alston was killed on the morning of Saturday 14 August 2010 in Read near Burnley. The 18 year old was over the drink drive limit the morning after drinking alcohol at a party at home.
 
Matthew's story is a devastating reminder that people can still be over the drink drive limit the morning after. One unit of alcohol takes approximately one hour to leave the body, so a night out could leave somebody with alcohol in their body for more than 24 hours.
 
Lancashire Constabulary Chief Inspector Richard Blackburn said: "Daniel and Matthew's stories highlight the most tragic consequences of drink driving; their families have been left completely devastated but are keen to educate people about the dangers.
 
"It's hoped the presence of Daniel and Matthew's vehicles at Preston Flag Market today will show people the stark reality of drink driving.
 
"We do want people to have fun this Christmas, but we would urge people to remember and consider the consequences of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and also drugs. And don't forget you could still be over the limit the morning after the night before.

"If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a crash than a driver who hasn't been drinking. Not only could this cause serious injury or worse, but a conviction could also mean that you lose your job, home, family and friends."
 
Throughout December, Lancashire police will be carrying out enforcement activity across the county. This will include checkpoints at various locations - officers will administer drink and drugs tests where they reasonably suspect somebody may be under the influence. Otherwise they will look to remind and educate drivers about the dangers of drunk/drug driving.
 
Chief Inspector Blackburn added: "Our message is simple - do not drink and drive and do not take drugs and drive. Stay safe this Christmas and enjoy it."
 
County Councillor John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, added: "Many people fail breath tests the morning after and your driving will still be impaired if you have alcohol in your system, with the same potentially devastating consequences.
 
"Changing attitudes to drink driving has taken decades of hard work and we're keen to deliver the message to a new generation of drivers this Christmas.
 
"The statistics tell their own story, driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is a risk simply not worth taking."
 
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: "This is an important message, and one which Lancashire's residents need to hear loud and clear - do not drink and drive.
 
"Shockingly, the statistics speak for themselves, and people are still being found over the limit driving home and the morning after the night before on Lancashire's roads. Not only does that put them in danger, it risks the lives of any passengers who may be in their car, and the lives of everyone on the road around them.
 
"Matthew and Daniel's stories show how devastating drink-driving can be. Please don't ruin this festive season for you and your family by taking the unnecessary risk. This isn't about spoiling anyone's fun this Christmas - it's about making sure everyone is able to enjoy themselves safely."

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