Car wreckage on display in Sidmouth in hard-hitting anti-drink drive campaign

PUBLISHED: 11:14 13 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:12 14 December 2016

Sidmouth Fire Station commander Steve Crabb and community safety prevention coordinator for Exeter and East Devon, Gareth Sydenham, with car wreck on display outside the fire station.

Sidmouth Fire Station commander Steve Crabb and community safety prevention coordinator for Exeter and East Devon, Gareth Sydenham, with car wreck on display outside the fire station.

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Aim is to send message that drinking and driving wrecks lives

Sidmouth Fire Station commander Steve Crabb and community safety prevention coordinator for Exeter and East Devon, Gareth Sydenham, with car wreck on display outside the fire station.Sidmouth Fire Station commander Steve Crabb and community safety prevention coordinator for Exeter and East Devon, Gareth Sydenham, with car wreck on display outside the fire station.

The mangled wreckage of a car from a fatal collision is on display outside Sidmouth Fire Station as part of a hard-hitting anti-drink drive campaign.

A woman in her early twenties was behind the wheel of the Mazda estate when she lost control negotiating a bend in the road and hit a tree. She sustained severe head injuries and died 11 days later in hospital.

A sample taken five hours after the crash established the driver had been over the drink drive limit and her family agreed to share their story in a bid to prevent others from having to go through the same ordeal.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is hoping the image of the crumpled car will hit home and send the message that drinking and driving wrecks lives.

Gareth Sydenham, watch manager and community safety prevention coordinator for Exeter and East Devon, said: “The young lady who was killed while driving the car was working in a bar and people were buying her drinks throughout the course of the evening. She was on her way home and she knew the car and the roads.

“Her parents want it to give a message of the dangers of drinking and driving.

“It’s a scenario that may be familiar to many – she did not go out to have a drink and was maybe unaware of how many she had actually had. It’s something people need to be aware of.

“Every unit of alcohol takes one hour for the body to process. There are two and a half units per pint so if you have had six pints, that’s 15 units. It’s going to take you well into the next morning to give that clear from your system.

“It’s a difficult message to get across – it’s been out there for many years, but we still get people who are willing to get in a car after having a drink even after hearing the message.

“There are wide-reaching consequences for that split second decision to get in your car when you have been drinking. The consequences could be killing someone or yourself, it could result in a custodial sentence and loss of licence which can lead to people losing their job or family.”

He said despite work to highlight the dangers of drink driving, there is still no sign of a significant reduction in numbers being killed.

Gareth added that the consequences of drug driving are just as severe and warned that there are just as many fatalities on rural roads as on motorways and city streets.

Sidmouth station commander Steve Crabb said: “At this time of year, drink driving is a big thing, even the morning after when you can still be over the limit. This car is to show the aftermath we see that the public generally do not see unless they are involved themselves.”

Sergeant Andy Squires of Sidmouth neighbourhood police team added his support for the campaign urging people not to drink and drive.

He said: “There is never a good time to lose a loved one, but this time of year it’s particularly poignant. Yet, it’s at Christmas that people run the risk of drink driving the most. I have been to all too many fatal accidents at this time of year and it’s never a nice job to have to tell their families.”

The Fire Service is also promoting the lifesaving mobile phone panic app that aims to help drivers in the first few moments if they are involved in a crash. Find out more via: www.learn-2-live.org.uk/panic.

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