Stars align to give drink driving the red card in Essex

14 Jun 24

Big names have come together to ensure Essex football fans are coming home this year.

Today, the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) launched its “Euros Football Friend” anti-drink drive campaign across the county, with the aim to lower unnecessary road death, due to drink driving.

A series of infomercials has been released, in line with the first Euros match, around how planning a journey ahead of football celebrations, can make all the difference between a good night out, a police cell, or worse.

The first film features former England goalkeeper, David James MBE, supporting fans to make the right decision, before heading to the pub, by encouraging the use of taxis, that will be working overtime, and to watch out for their friends on an evening out.

David James said: “This campaign is one close to my heart, because I've experienced first-hand how drink driving can affect lives. My friend was hit by a drunk driver and suffered life-changing injuries. I urge everyone in Essex to show their support for the campaign, by sharing the films and spreading the campaign’s message that drink-driving is not okay, and it is not worth the risk. It can be easily avoided by having a plan in place, before you start drinking. Enjoy the Euros and stay safe.”

The second film stars actor, Joe Thomas, best known for his roles in comedies, including The Inbetweeners, which features the campaign’s “Football Friend” strapline. It illustrates the alternative transport options available to Euro revellers, including DigiGo, a shared public transport service which offers on-demand or pre-bookable travel in parts of Essex, and the Travel Essex App, which provides users real time travel information, to make an informed decision on their journey.

Joe Thomas said: “I wanted to get involved with this campaign because not only am I from Essex, but I am also, sadly, the same demographic as those overrepresented in drink drive collisions in Essex. The campaign message is so important- the risk is high, with very little reward, so I would ask everyone to think ahead before drinking, be that football friend during the Euros and share these films and graphics with your mates. Zero really is the only acceptable number of deaths and serious injuries on Essex roads.”

The Euros safer journey concept was a collaborative initiative, from SERP’s media team, Sarah Hammill, and Caroline Churchouse, in a bid to help people plan their journeys safely, before having a drink, and highlighting the importance of looking after your friends.

Communications Manager, Caroline Churchouse, said: “We were keen to send a positive message out to football fans this summer. We want them to have fun, but to be aware of the risks of drink driving. An analysis of collision data shows that young men are sadly most affected by drink driving, with at least 258 men under the age 40 killed or seriously injured in drink driving crashes on Essex roads, over the last ten years. This campaign forms a strand in our strive to Vision Zero, the shared objective of no death or serious injury on Essex roads, by 2040. We hope Essex fans take time to plan their journey, pre-pint, and match.”

The SERP ask for everyone to stay safe this year, and to like, share and engage with the Euros Football Friend campaign. It could save a life.

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Further Information

The Safer Essex Roads Partnership has brought together organisations across Greater Essex, to provide a road safety service.

SERP partners comprise Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue Service, Essex County Council, Southend City Council, Thurrock Council, National Highways, The Police Fire & Crime Commissioner for Essex, The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust, The East of England Ambulance Trust and The Safer Roads Foundation.

Our aims

The partnership’s purpose is to lead on the reduction of death and serious injury on Essex roads towards zero. This is an ambitious vision and one which we cannot tackle alone - each road user plays a part.

We have set a challenging interim target to reduce death and serious injuries by 70% from the baseline average of 2005-2009, by 2030. This equates to fewer than 415 deaths and serious injuries.


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