PLAN AHEAD THIS FESTIVE SEASON

James Smith from the Railway Hotel at Bogan Gate is participating in the annual Plan B Win a Swag promotion, where patrons enter a competition nominating their Plan B to get home for a chance to win a swag worth more than $250. Image Credit: Melanie Suitor.James Smith from the Railway Hotel at Bogan Gate is participating in the annual Plan B Win a Swag promotion, where patrons enter a competition nominating their Plan B to get home for a chance to win a swag worth more than $250. Image Credit: Melanie Suitor.

If you are intending to indulge in a few alcoholic beverages this Christmas, make sure you don’t get behind the wheel and have made alternative arrangements to get home.

Motorists are being urged not to drink and drive this festive season, as part of a state-wide campaign to raise awareness about planning ahead.

More than 300 pubs, clubs and bottle-shops across Western NSW are participating in the annual Plan B Win a Swag promotion, where patrons enter a competition nominating their Plan B to get home for a chance to win a swag worth more than $250.

Locally there are 60 pubs, clubs and bottle-shops across the Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Council areas that are taking part.

The Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, said almost all of the local licensed venues are participating and with COVID restrictions continuing to ease this Christmas period is expected to be very social.

“It has been an especially difficult year, with the mouse plague, COVID lock-downs and flooding. With state borders reopening, the resumption of regional travel and COVID restrictions easing, people are keen to reconnect and celebrate,” she explained.

“However, staying safe on the road must remain front of mind and this means separating drinking from driving and having a plan to get home safely.

“The Plan B Win a Swag promotion encourages the conversation about planning safe ways to get home. In many of our smaller villages there isn’t public transport or a courtesy bus, so this promotion prompts patrons to think of other alternatives to get home safely. It’s great that the swag is also a Plan B!”

Parkes Highway Patrol Sergeant Martin Ling is reminding drivers that NSW Police will be focusing on drink driving this festive season.

“RBT means you need a Plan B. It’s not just a slogan, it’s the reality. NSW Police will be conducting mobile and stationary random breath tests these holidays to keep road users safe,” he stated.

“Drinking alcohol increases your risk of being involved in a crash, it affects your skills, mood and behaviour. If you’re planning on drinking on your night out, the best advice is always to avoid temptation and leave the car at home. No one wants to start 2022 without a licence.”

This year the Plan B Win a Swag Promotion will be running until Saturday, 29 January 2022.

“The longer promotional period will enable us to keep the Plan B message top of mind. We want people to reconnect, socialise and have fun – but to leave the car at home if they are drinking,” Ms Suitor revealed.

Drink driving is a serious offence. It is also an offence if you refuse to take a breath test. Penalties can include loss of licence, fines, prison terms and a requirement to install an alcohol interlock device.

If you are a repeat, high-risk drink driver, police have the power to take your number plates or vehicle on the spot.