YEP Says (December 23): The drink driving menace that still haunts our roads

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IT’s a familiar story – a missed last bus, not having enough money for a taxi, then a potentially fatal decision skewed by drink to chance the drive home. Despite the laws, high-profile campaigns and a huge change in social attitudes, hundreds still die in road accidents in which drink driving played a part. And, of course, for every death is a family destroyed; loved ones consumed by grief and lives changed forever.

The figures do not tell us, also, how many people have been left disabled or disfigured as a result of drinking and driving, perhaps to the extent that lives have been irrevocably damaged or livelihoods lost.

Drink driving remains a menace, even though 50 years of campaigning against it have wrought profound changes in perceived acceptable behaviours and brought the numbers whose lives are blighted or destroyed relentlessly downwards. Thirty-six years ago, 1,640 people died in road accidents in which drink was a factor. The twin-track approach of hard-hitting advertising and relentless enforcement by police, has been a major success.

But there is still a hard core of offenders out there, some full of contemptible bravado about how much they can drink without being affected, others cocksure about not getting caught. However successful the anti-drink driving campaign has been, more still needs to be done. The annual blitz focuses minds, but it remains a year-round problem and the continuing relentlessness of policing is part of the answer, of course, This is a battle in which no quarter should be given. For at this time of year, more than any other, lives really are at stake.

Gary Edwards, pictured with some of his Leeds United memorabilia collection in 2012.

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