Motorway Pub Is A 'Potentially Deadly Temptation'

Brake Is Concerned About The Opening Of A Pub At A Motorway Service Station


Road safety campaigners have reacted to the opening of a pub at a motorway service station in Buckinghamshire.

Despite encountering lots of opposition, JD Wetherspoon has launched a new establishment at the Beaconsfield service area on the M40.

The Hope & Champion will be open from 4am until 1am seven days a week and has a licence to serve alcohol from 9am.

Although the pub chain insists the local community will benefit from the £1.2 million venture, leaders at road safety charity Brake believe it is a bad idea.

Spokeswoman for the group Ellie Pearson said the opening of a pub at a motorway service station is "very concerning" and presents a "potentially deadly temptation to drivers".

"Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day," she commented.

Brake has long campaigned for the UK's legal drink-driving limit to be lowered and has launched numerous awareness raising programmes, such as 'Not a drop, not a drag', which encourages people not to consume any alcohol at all if they are planning to drive.

"Research clearly shows that even small amounts of alcohol can be lethal if you're driving, so our advice to drivers is simple: never drink any alcohol if you're driving - not a drop," Ms Pearson added.

In December, Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said public attitudes towards drink driving have improved in recent years, but there are still too many people being killed by intoxicated motorists.

Meanwhile, Kate Gibbs - spokeswoman for the Road Haulage Association (RHA) - also criticised the pub launch, labelling it as "irresponsible".

She said motorways can be dangerous places and motorists need to have their wits about them, particularly in adverse weather conditions.

Ms Gibbs added that with motorways becoming more congested, the idea of tempting drivers with a pub is "absolute madness".

The RHA representative stated that motorway service areas have always functioned well without offering alcohol and there is no reason to change this.

Expert Opinion
There is extremely good reason why many people and organisations, like Brake, are opposed to this idea. Service stations are for rest, refuel and repair, not to decrease your chances of driving safely.

“It is true that motorists can access pubs at any point when driving, but motorway driving requires the upmost concentration because of the speeds you are travelling at and conditions that are faced. We have seen far too many tragic cases that have involved drink-driving and the consequences are devastating as we support people piecing their lives back together.

“This is very concerning news and we hope the authorities will keep a close eye on whether it has a knock on effect of accidents relating to drink driving on our motorways and roads.”
Stephen Nye, Partner