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Mike Waters' blog: 11 March 2014 - A dangerous temptation

Date: 11 March 2014

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company

The launch of The Hope and Champion, a JD Wetherspoon pub, has ignited an inevitable spark of debate among motoring groups, road safety organisations and the general public. 

The pub has opened its doors at Junction two of the M40 at Beaconsfield, and has prompted discussion around the importance of drivers being able to rest, stretch their legs, and re-fuel, versus the temptation to have 'just the one' alcoholic drink.

In a move that might prove too irresistible for some drivers to ignore, Wetherspoon's may well be seducing motorists to choose alcohol, when a coffee would have been more than sufficient.

The counter-argument is that pubs have been a roadside staple for years and provide drivers with plenty of drinking opportunities.

However, is this a good enough reason to facilitate a new opportunity to drive under the influence by opening a pub on such a busy motorway?

Some motorists would argue that alcohol is already available at shops at motorway services, but Wetherspoon's is making alcohol more easily accessible by introducing an additional source.

They have agreed to display the national Drink Drive Awareness logos on menus and remove all alcoholic promotional deals, but I'm far from convinced that these are sufficient enough deterrents. 

As a major vehicle leasing company, we have a responsibility to keep our drivers as safe as possible, and this means considering all risks, including other drivers. Any amount of alcohol can impair the ability to handle a vehicle correctly, and we all have varying tolerances.

The temptation to have 'just one' and assume that it won't have an affect is dangerous and will always add risk when getting back into a vehicle. 

But irrespective of what the retailers do, or where they place their pubs, every driver must take responsibility for their own actions. No one is being forced to drink and drive here.

However, for every responsible motorist who is more than capable of understanding the potential consequences, my fear is that there are road users who would gamble with the safety of everyone on the M40.