TERRIFYINGLY realistic scenes of the aftermath of a major road smash were brought to life in Wigan town centre.
Unprepared passers-by could have been forgiven for thinking the emergency service rescue and treatment work and the bloodied casualties in smashed up cars in Market Place were genuine.
But thankfully they were a re-enactment involving genuine 999 crews and Wigan and Leigh College actors aimed at launching the seasonal anti-drink-drive campaign in the most dramatic of fashion.
Figures for December 2011 show that across Greater Manchester police conducted nearly 12,000 breath tests which resulted in 413 arrests. Of these, 78 involved collisions where the driver was found to be over the limit, and a further 34 people were arrested following field impairment tests.
In terms of overall road casualties across Greater Manchester in December last year, 595 people were injured, 49 seriously injured and eight lost their lives.
Insp John Armfield, GMP’s lead on drink driving, said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves this Christmas, but we also want people to act responsibly and be safe.
“If you are having a drink, do not drive, and make alternative arrangements to get home, as that way you won’t ruin anyone’s Christmas. Words cannot describe the enormous impact on bereaved families who lose loved ones through drink or drug driving, and we will continue to do all we can to bring down the number of casualties.”
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s Borough Manager for Wigan, Steve Sheridan, said: “We want to keep people safe this festive season so Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is working with our 999 partners to deter people from drink or drug driving.
“Firefighters are called to many road traffic collisions and the emergency services are busy enough over Christmas, so we want drivers in Wigan to know that it’s just not worth the risk.
“Not only could you lose your licence but you could be involved in a more tragic incident where you could kill or seriously injure yourself or someone else, which would have a huge impact on family life at Christmas, so please think before you put your keys in the ignition.”
Wigan Council is also appealing to motorists not to drink and drive over the Christmas period and also had a message for other road users.
Cabinet lead for the environment, Coun Kevin Anderson. said: “Be safe and be seen,” he adds. “Dark coats on dark nights aren’t always the best choice – and hoods are great to keep warm, but may restrict visibility and impair your hearing. Together, making sensible choices, we can keep the accident rate down and all have a safe Christmas.”