A few of the Cardiff pubs who have signed up for the scheme
A few of the Cardiff pubs who have signed up for the scheme

Designated drivers will be given free drinks this Christmas in bid to reduce drink driving

Drivers will be asked to show a special wristband at 13 pubs taking part in the scheme after 21 drink driving arrests in a single week

PUBS across Cardiff and Vale have signed up for South Wales Police’s new scheme which aims to tackle drink driving.

So far 13 pubs have signed up for the scheme which offers free draught soft drinks to designated drivers who ask for a wristband and show it at the bar.

This comes after 21 people were arrested for drink driving offences in a week at the beginning of South Wales Police’s festive period patrols.

“We all know it can sometimes be a burden being the designated driver but we are hopeful that this scheme will encourage more people to be aware of drink driving and the importance of being safe on the roads,” said Claire Dewhurst, South Wales Police licensing officer.

The latest data, released by Statistics for Wales in 2019, shows that 19% of drivers killed in Wales had blood alcohol levels over the legal driving limit.

It also outlines that 9% of road accidents which led to death or serious injury were alcohol-related.

The Philharmonic on St Mary Street is one of the 13 venues that have signed up for the scheme

One pub which has signed up for the scheme is The Admiral Napier in Canton, which is part of the Valiant Pub Company chain.

“As a community pub company, we like to serve the whole community and that means non-drinkers too,” said Luke Carroll, 29, Valiant’s operations manager.

He said that two of their other pubs – The Cornwall in Grangetown and The Park in Barry – have also signed up.

“As responsible pub operators we all know that the festive period can be a time when people have that one extra drink which takes them over the legal limit,” said Mr Carroll.

“We want to be at the forefront of taking that decision out of their hands and offering a great range of non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks free of charge so we can do our bit to keep Canton safe from drink driving.”

The Admiral in Canton had recently started a similar scheme before getting on board the South Wales Police initiative

The pub had recently put in place its own similar scheme where drivers could claim a free non-alcoholic beverage with the first round of drinks.

After hearing about the initiative Mr Carroll got in touch with South Wales Police asking to get on board.

Also participating are popular city centre venues Revolution, Brewhouse, Retro Lounge, Metros, Brew Monster Tap House and The Philharmonic.

Pubs across Cardiff and Vale have signed up for South Wales Police’s new initiative

Meanwhile, owner of On The Rocks bar in Sully says they have always offered free soft drinks as alternatives for designated drivers.

“We always want to be responsible as a retailer and want our guests to be safe at all times,” said owner Steve Fifield.

“Offering this is our way of giving a little something back so the designated driver can still enjoy a great night out,” said the 44-year-old.

On The Rocks in Sully have been offering a similar policy for a few years

The initiative has received an overwhelmingly positive response on social media with many hopeful that it will help reduce figures.

“I think it’s a great idea as soft drinks can be expensive so it’s a good way to avoid driving under the influence, I just hope that more pubs will get involved,” said Bethany Pierce from Cathays.

Several pubs outside the city centre are also taking part including The Vale of Glamorganshire Golf Club, The Village Inn, Hollybush Pub and The Dock Bar and Kitchen.

“This scheme is a really good idea, particularly during a cost of living crisis. Thanks to South Wales Police and the bars taking part in it, for doing this. I’m sure it will be a success,” Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff Central told The Cardiffian.

The initiative is open to pubs across the Cardiff area and those looking to get involved should contact their local licensing team.