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World Cup Fever in Danger of Spilling out on to the Roads

Footballers from around the region have united to convince football fans not to drink and drive during the World Cup. Instead fans are urged to drink responsibly and use local taxi firms to get home, or arrive at work.

It’s impossible to have missed the build up to this month’s World Cup in Brazil. But as the tournament gets ever closer, fears have grown over the impact of unfamiliar kick-off times. With England playing Italy at 23:00 GMT on Saturday 14th June, pubs across the country have had licences extended to accommodate the expected influx of thirsty punters.

Presently this applies to just the one game, but if England progress, licences will be extended again.

With this in mind, top players from the region’s three major teams – Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough – have joined forces with Road Safety GB North East to share anti-drink driving messages.

Road Safety and a smattering of footballing talent were in Durham on Monday promoting what has been named the Fatal Attraction Drink Driving Campaign. They appeared alongside the local fire services.

The effort has highlighted the already worrying road traffic accident statistics in the North East, where 41 people lost their lives and 311 were seriously injured due to drink driving offences between 2009 and 2013.

The chairman of the Road Safety initiative, Paul Watson, said: ‘We just want to remind people about the potential consequences […] it’s normal for people to celebrate and have a few drinks, and we don’t want to stop that. However, they need to leave their car keys at home and either walk or take public transport.’

He went on: ‘People could easily be over the limit when they have to drive to work or take the kids on the school run.’

Taxi cabs around the North East will be working hard to cope with higher demand, meaning that the World Cup could be a particularly successful period for taxi fleets across the region, providing that fans take heed of the advice being given.

Newcastle defender Mike Williamson has lent his support to the project, and is quoted as saying: ‘You can still enjoy yourself, especially if England are doing well. Enjoy the football, but remember, nothing is more important than a human life.’

Football fans, then, are encouraged to have fun, drink responsibly, and if leaving the pub after a few bevvies, dial a cab before risking an accident.


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