The transport secretary was guest of honour at the launch of
Coca-Cola’s Designated Driver Campaign 2014in the Commons last week.
Designated Drivers will be rewarded with a ‘buy one get one free’ offer on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero, and for the first year, Schweppes drinks are also included.
It is the second year that the campaign has been launched at the Houses of Parliament, with the support of Jim Fitzpatrick MP.
Dozens of MPs and peers from across the country turned up to show their support for the campaign, run in partnership with the Department for Transport’s THINK! road safety campaign.
It celebrates responsible drivers who have chosen not to drink alcohol on their night out this Christmas. Last year, over one million free soft drinks were given away across the country.
At the launch event, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP said:
"I want to endorse this campaign; I would like to thank Jim and all the other people who are particularly interested in road safety.
"You only have to hear some of the tragic stories around people doing stupid things when they don't need to, they don't realise what a danger they are on the roads when they are not in full control of their cars.
"This campaign is a very, very good idea.
"This year we are increasing the number of pubs taking part and there is a huge advertising campaign across 240 radio stations.
"We do have very safe roads in the United Kingdom, but we can never take it for granted and must never take for granted. Last Christmas drink driving arrests were down by 8%, despite an 8% rise in the number of breath tests carried out by the police. That was encouraging and good news but we must never be complacent about this subject.
"I would like to congratulate Coca-Cola for being involved and wish the campaign every success."
The number of people killed in drink driving accidents has been reduced by over three-quarters since 1979 thanks to more than 30 years of government education campaigns and measures to improve enforcement.
However, drink driving is still a problem - around 280 people lost their lives in drink driving accidents on Britain’s road in 2011.
The campaign, now in its seventh year, will be running throughout December and this year it is set to be the biggest ever with more than 12,500 pubs and bars across Great Britain taking part.
This year, for the first time ever, the campaign is supported by a nationwide radio campaign across 240 radio stations across the country throughout December.