A night bus will operate on Saturdays throughout December in North Devon in a bid to prevent Christmas-related drink and drug driving.
Stagecoach will operate the Route 21 service every Saturday until 30 December 2023, with buses running every hour from midnight until 4am from Barnstaple to Bideford stopping at Bickington, Fremington and Yelland along the way.
The service has been part-funded by the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership as a pilot project with the hope of reducing incidents of drink and drug driving over the festive period.
Adrian Leisk, Head of Road Safety for Devon & Cornwall Police, said: “The vast majority of road users are safe and responsible drivers who respect the law and take the safety of others seriously.
“Sadly around Christmas, as people head out to festive celebrations with friends, family and colleagues, there can be the temptation to drive after consuming too much alcohol – whether that’s on the night or the morning after.
“Impaired driving is one of the ‘Fatal Five’ common causes of fatal and serious collisions. Driving requires your full concentration and anything that impairs your ability to focus makes a crash far more likely – often with devastating results.
“This new trial bus service offers festive revellers and partygoers the opportunity to leave their cars at home, safe in the knowledge they have a cheap and convenient way of getting home safely – right up until 4am.
“The penalties for drink and drug driving are severe, including a driving ban, up to £5,000 fine and even a prison sentence – all of which could cost you your job and livelihood. These penalties become even more serious if you kill or injure another person.
“We want everyone to enjoy Christmas, so please don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs – it’s just not worth the risk.”
Peter Knight, Stagecoach Managing Director, said: “We are pleased to reintroduce the night service to the 21 Route as a trial in partnership with the Town Centre Management, Vision Zero South West and Devon & Cornwall Police.
“We, like our partners, believe it is vital that people do not attempt to drive under the influence this festive season and get home safely and inexpensively this winter.”
Tickets for the service cost just £2 for a single journey, or £4 for unlimited travel after 7pm until the end of the service.
You can see the full Route 21 timetable here.
Drink & Drug Driving: The Facts
- Every week in the UK, 11 people will die because of drink driving.
- Young men in their 20s are four times more likely to be involved in drink drive accidents than other age groups.
- On average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year because of drink driving.
- 11 people are killed by drink drivers on UK roads every week.
- The penalties if caught driving while impaired through drink or drugs are severe. If caught, you face a minimum one-year ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and six months in jail.
- Around 18% of people killed in road crashes have traces of illegal drugs in their blood.
- Different drugs affect your driving in different ways, some speed up your reactions, some slow them down – all are dangerous.