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Newcastle United backs Euros road safety campaign

Newcastle United is backing a road safety campaign which aims to eliminate drink and drug driving from this summer's European Championships.

Football fans are being urged to leave their cars at home if they are enjoying a drink during the Euros and instead walk, get a lift or take public transport.

The campaign has been launched by Road Safety GB North East and it has gained support from the emergency services and football clubs including Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

Drink and drug driving typically increases during major sporting tournaments as people gather to watch the games over drinks.

During Euro 2016, injuries relating to drink and drug driving increased around England’s matches, with death or serious injury in the North East rising from 8% to 19%.

Last year alone, eight people died on the region’s roads in collisions involving drivers impaired by drink and drugs – the highest rate since 2014. This is despite traffic levels during the various lockdowns and the pandemic being much lower than usual.

Peter Slater, from Road Safety GB NE, said: "We know people are looking forward to the Euros and have lots of plans to meet up with friends and family to watch the games.

"It’s been a long time coming and we don’t want to spoil the fun, but we’re asking people to be sensible. If you know you’re going to be drinking, plan your transport home beforehand, or be the designated driver.

"If you’re driving, stick to soft drinks. Ask yourself, could you live with it if you hurt or killed someone?

"And look out for each other. If you know someone has been drinking, don’t let them drive. Speak up – it could save a life."

Superintendent Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police, said officers would be taking robust action against anyone driving impaired this summer.

"We know that more people are likely to be enjoying a drink as they watch the drama of the Euros unfold," she said.

"But our message to fans is a simple one – don’t get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking or using drugs.

"Your reaction time slows down and it’s more difficult to focus on the road and drive in a safe manner.

"Road traffic collisions tear families apart and it’s crucial that people are aware of the potential consequences of driving over the limit prior to getting behind the wheel."

A Newcastle United spokesperson said: "We fully support Road Safety GB North East's campaign, which is dedicated to reducing the number of casualties and fatalities on roads across our region this summer.

"For anyone heading out to watch the Euros and planning to have a drink, we join Road Safety GB NE in urging you to leave your car at home.

"Stay safe, keep others safe and help to make it a memorable tournament for all the right reasons."

To find out more about Road Safety GB NE, please visit roadsafetygb.org.uk/your-area/north-east.

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