Over 110 licensed premises are set to offer soft drinks for free this Christmas. 

They are being given to those who give free lifts home to friends and family after a night out.

It is part of a Christmas campaign from Devon & Cornwall Police titled 'Lift Legend'  which will raise awareness of the dangers involved in drink driving.

The initiative runs from Wednesday, December 1 2021 to Saturday, January 1 2022 and is a modern approach to the annual Christmas campaign.

On the purchase of their first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have their second free of charge at participating venues.

Breath tests will also be requested from all drivers who commit a moving road traffic offence, irrespective of whether or not they’re suspected a drink driving offence.

Officers will also be carrying out intelligence-led fixed site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink.

St Austell Brewery is getting behind the campaign across its 38 venues across Devon and Cornwall. Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of St Austell Brewery, said: “It’s incredibly important to us that our customers across the South West are able to enjoy themselves and celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, whether they’re driving to our sites or not. 

“Pubs are the heart of responsible socialising, so we’re delighted to be taking part in the Lift Legend campaign throughout the festive season. What better way to reward those who are driving their friends and family than with a soft drink, mocktail or alcohol-free beer or cider on the house?”

Falmouth Packet: The full list of venues in the scheme in Cornwall. Picture: Devon and Cornwall PoliceThe full list of venues in the scheme in Cornwall. Picture: Devon and Cornwall Police

Venues include the Harbour Inn at Porthleven, the Chain Locker at Falmouth, the Ship Inn at Mousehole, Pedn-Olva Hotel at St Ives, the Rising Sun at St Mawes, and the County Arms in Truro. 

You can find the web link to the participating venues in Cornwall here.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, of the roads policing team, said: “It is vital we do all we can to ensure anyone on a night out is able to get home safely. Our new initiative aims to encourage those heading out for the night to plan who is going to be their Lift Legend.

“Despite long-term reductions, drink and drug driving still accounts for 15% of road deaths and almost 10,000 casualties nationally each year.

“During last year’s Christmas campaign, officers in Devon and Cornwall carried out 1,348 breath tests and charged 163 people with a drink drive-related offence.

“Alongside the Lift Legend education campaign, officers will be out in force rigorously targeting those who are a danger on our roads, day or night.

“It is also important to remember that you shouldn’t seek out lifts from those you don’t know or who aren’t licensed such as through social media networks. Only get into a vehicle with someone you know and trust.

“Alcohol and drugs impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving; reaction times and spatial awareness are affected significantly. This may still be the case the morning after, depending on how much alcohol is consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking.

“If police think you are unfit to drive through consumption of alcohol, even if your breath test registers lower than the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, you can still be arrested and may be charged with an offence. In short, you do not have to be drunk to be a drink driver. Don’t risk it.

“It’s not just you that’s at risk. You could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoiding this happening is as simple as planning ahead, leaving the car at home, and using a taxi, public transport or designated driver to get home.”