Teen’s tragic death is stark reminder on why not to drink or drug drive

Matthew Alston died in a car crash the morning after a night out. Credit: Lancashire police.
Matthew Alston died in a car crash the morning after a night out. Credit: Lancashire police.

A young Ribble Valley man’s tragic story is being highlighted in Lancashire police’s clampdown on drink and drug driving in the run up to Christmas.

Matthew Alston (18) was killed on a Saturday morning in August 2010 in Read. He had been out in Burnley on the Friday night and had got a taxi home but was still over the drink drive limit the morning after.

The wreckage of Matthew's car after the crash Credit: Lancashire Police.

The wreckage of Matthew's car after the crash Credit: Lancashire Police.

Matthew’s story is a devastating reminder that people can still be over the drink drive limit the morning after. One unit of alcohol takes approximately one hour to leave the body, so a night out could leave somebody with alcohol in their body for more than 24 hours.

To launch this years’ campaign Matthew’s car was on show outside Blackburn Cathedral as a stark reminder of how drink driving can wreck lives.

Inspector Andy Trotter from the Constabulary’s Road Policing Unit said: “This year a main focus of our activity will be on late night revellers who may still be over the limit the morning after.

“If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road traffic collision than a driver who hasn’t been drinking, potentially resulting in serious injury or death. A conviction could also mean that you lose your job, home, family and friends. The consequences can be absolutely devastating.”

As part of the police’s campaign high profile checks will be carried out at key locations across the county throughout December.

Officers will use saliva testing kits alongside the standard breath tests meaning motorists will not only be tested for the alcohol but also for cannabis and cocaine.

Insp. Trotter added: “We are determined to keep our roads safe, whether that is at night or the morning after and we will be working throughout the festive period to keep the public safe. We want people to enjoy the festive season but to remember the consequences of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“If you’re out partying this Christmas then please plan ahead and book a taxi, check public transport times or don’t drink. If you know of someone who is driving under the influence of drink or drugs then please do the right thing and call the police before they kill themselves or somebody else.”

Last year, a total of 3,065 drink drive tests were carried out across the county in December with 118 people failing the test and four refusing to provide a specimen – resulting in a failure rate of almost four per cent.