Don’t drink and drive on New Year’s Eve

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The boyfriend of a woman killed by a drink driver has urged New Year’s Eve revellers not to put anyone else through his pain.

Darien Long, from Donington, has put up posters around Spalding bearing the picture of his partner Valentina (37), who was killed when a drink-driver hit her moped as she rode to work in the early hours.

Darien hopes the posters will make people think twice before climbing behind the wheel after a tipple or two this festive season.

He said: “I hope they will make it more personal – drink-driving can kill. It killed Valentina.

“It’s shocking that people are still getting in the car and driving after having a few drinks. Just don’t do it. It ruins lives.”

But the message seems to be slow to get through to some drivers in Lincolnshire – figures for the first three weeks of December showed an average of three arrests every day for drink-driving.

Sgt Paul Wills, of Spalding Police, said: “I have seen first hand what drink-driving can do to families.

“It’s horrific and there’s no excuse for it.”

“It’s not an accident in my book. It’s something that can be avoided.”

Sgt Wills said figures were not yet available for how many drivers had been tested – but said 20 drivers had been arrested in the Boston and South Holland division.

John Siddle, of Lincolnshire Road Partnership, said: “Drink-driving has to be the craziest thing ever.

“Putting aside the risk to yourself and others of drink-driving, if you are caught, you are likely to lose your licence and that could lead to you losing your job, your home and even your family.”

From December 1 to 21, 67 drivers in Lincolnshire were arrested – most of whom now face starting the New Year with a court case hanging over them.

Of those, 40 were the morning after the night before – leading Darien and police to remind people of the dangers of going on an evening bender and then driving the next morning.

And according to Mr Siddle, drivers in the age group 17 to 29 are over-represented in those arrested.

He said: “It might be that people have become blase about it. People think you don’t see a policeman from one week to the next so there’s no chance of being caught, but we are testing more people than ever, so if you do drink and drive there’s a distinct possibility you could be caught.

“Those figures only go up to December 21, so we still have a way to go and coming up to New Year’s Eve I suspect it will go through the roof.”

And Sgt Wills added: “Any amount of alcohol can impair your judgement. The only safe level is zero alcohol, but if you are planning to drink, plan ahead – book a taxi or nominate a designated driver.”

Darien added: “Every time you get in the car after drinking it’s a big gamble – a gamble with people’s lives.”