Friday, 9 December 2016

"None for the road" - the annual campaign

A subtly nuanced Australian sign
"None for the road" is the slogan Merseyside Police are using this year in the annual drink-driving campaign. My initial thought was that they seem to be ignoring that fact that drink-driving within the limit is still legal. I rarely drink while using the car, preferring to walk or use public transport. Virtually the only occasions are when I'm delivering Ale & Hearty, the local CAMRA magazine, when I might have a couple of ordinary strength halves while going around half a dozen pubs. But the campaign isn't really aimed at the likes of me.

There are drivers who have become so wedded to their cars that going anywhere without them is inconceivable. In the same paper that the drink-drive campaign was announced, a woman seen driving erratically was found to be nearly three times over the limit. Her excuse was she had fallen out with her friend after drinking and drove home because she felt that both she and her car were vulnerable. The question is: why did she drive to meet her friend for a drink in the first place?

Some simply don't care less about the law, and others actually believe they drive as well, if not better, when they've had a few drinks. In a way, I can see why they think that, insofar as I have sometimes walked out of a pub and thought to myself that I feel okay to drive. The difference is that I never do because - even after a few drinks - I know for a fact that such a feeling is deceptive. Another reason is that my car is at home anyway, where it should be when you go drinking.

In some ways you could look at this issue as a part of your lifestyle choices. Many years ago, I visited my friend Jim who had moved to Solihull. He enjoyed a drink as much as me, and suggested we go for a pint. After a quarter of an hour walk, we reached a pub, but we didn't go in because he said it was rubbish. It was half an hour's walk before we reached a reasonable boozer. I asked why he had chosen to live so far from a pub. He replied that you don't take such considerations into account when looking for somewhere to live, but I disagreed.

If you like golf, you'd probably choose to live near a golf course, and the same obviously applies to any kind of interest or social activity you may enjoy. If you like going to the pub, it makes perfect sense to live within reasonable distance of one, but suggest that and people treat it as a joke. I doubt most pubgoers seriously consider where the pubs are when choosing a new home, but they ought to. If I needed to move, there are whole swathes of Southport I wouldn't consider looking at for this very reason. It seems to me that if you don't 'need' the car to go to the pub, you probably won't be tempted to use it.

These thoughts were prompted by an article in the Morning Advertiser, which is mainly about how drink-driving deaths, injuries and convictions are in decline, and how pubs can help. 

3 comments:

  1. When we moved to our current house there was a big old 'roadhouse' style pub a quarter of a mile away, another a quarter of a mile beyond that, and a third half a mile in the other direction. That'll do me, I thought. Now that same mile of road offers eleven decent pubs & bars (not including the first two mentioned, which have closed), plus two or three other non-RA places. The bars came to me!

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  2. “There are drivers who have become so wedded to their cars that going anywhere without them is inconceivable.”

    Strangely enough I was just thinking the same thing, after returning earlier this evening from my firm’s Christmas party. Apart from the boss, I was the only other person who travelled into work this morning by public transport; everyone else drove. There is a station, just five minutes walk away from our factory. The service isn’t brilliant at the moment, as it’s operated by Southern and there is an ongoing industrial dispute, but I took the train both ways without any trouble. (The station is even directly opposite the pub where we had our Christmas meal!).

    I’m not saying that those who drove in were drinking; they weren’t, and most had organised some form of car sharing between them. It does seem though that many people have an aversion to public transport, even when it’s practically on their doorstep!

    We have found much the same when organising our CAMRA bus trips. People seem almost frightened to catch a bus, or jump on a train. I feel a blog post of my own, coming on about this.

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  3. When we got married I insisted that we found a house within walking distance of my local and also a railway station. I think that both points are still valid.

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