Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting a campaign to raise awareness about the risks and consequence of driving over the Christmas period while under the influence of drink and drugs.
Each year, fire stations throughout Berkshire, including Wokingham Road Fire Station, construct a simulated road traffic collision (RTC) outside the front of the station. The display is designed to draw the attention of the public and remind our communities about the risks of drink and drug driving. The biggest risk of course is causing a collision which puts lives in danger.
The displays are part of a wider national campaign - Operation Holly - which is led by the Joint Operations Roads Policing Unit of Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police. It combines educational and enforcement activity and runs until 1 January 2023.
Darren Barrett is Watch Manager at Wokingham Road Fire Station and has been involved with putting the static RTC displays together for six years.
Commenting on this year's display, he said: "The overall aim of the campaign is to make driving on Berkshire's roads safer for everyone in our communities. The best way to deal with road traffic collisions is to stop them from happening in the first place. We need to get this important message out to as many people as possible. Simply don't drink or take drugs and drive. It's not worth the risk. If you are out drinking, particularly over the festive period, then remove the question of driving from the equation. Book a taxi, catch the bus or arrange a lift from a designated driver."
Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), said: "Unfortunately our staff continue to see the tragic impact that drink and drug driving has on people's lives. As well as causing death, road traffic collisions can leave people with life-changing and life-limiting injuries. It's never worth the risk of driving whilst under the influence or getting in a vehicle with someone who you know shouldn't be behind the wheel. With ambulance services and hospitals under the greatest pressure they have ever faced this winter, please help us by not creating completely avoidable accidents. Plan ahead so you can get home safely to your loved ones, family and friends."
A spokesperson from Thames Valley Police added, "We are teaming up with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service this festive season to provide our communities with top tips for staying safe. We want to remind you not to get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol and drugs can create a false confidence which can lead to an increase in risk-taking behaviour, which puts your life and the lives of others in danger.
"The safest way to avoid a road traffic collision is to avoid driving altogether if you are drinking. Not only could there be legal consequences if you drink drive, but it could cost lives."