Annual Designated Driver campaign is launched for Christmas

More 1,000 venues are offering free softdrinks

Annual Designated Driver campaign is launched for Christmas

Ireland and Ulster player Tommy Bowe pictured at the 40 foot in Dun Laoghaire to launch the 2016 Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign | Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

A campaign is urging people not to drink and drive this festive season, as over 1,000 venues are offering free softdrinks.

The Coca-Cola 12th annual Designated Driver campaign has been launched by Ireland and Ulster rugby player Tommy Bowe.

The campaign is seen as a long-standing Irish Christmas tradition that safeguards others.

It is now live in more than 1,000 pubs, restaurants and hotels nationwide.

Coca-Cola say the campaign "rewards safety-conscious Designated Drivers with two free drinks from the Coca-Cola range".

Designated drivers are encouraged to download a voucher entitling them to two free soft drinks when presented at participating venues across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Comedian Andrew Stanley pictured at Schoolhouse Hotel to launch the 2016 Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign. Joining him was Transport Minister Shane Ross, general manager of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, Matthieu Seguin and CEO of Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock | Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Transport Minister Shane Ross said: "I'm delighted to endorse the Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign this year, which supports our aim of keeping roads safe over the Christmas period.

"The campaign serves to remind the nation that it is important to take precautions getting to and from festivities, whether by appointing a designated driver or making other arrangements."

Campaign ambassador Tommy Bowe added: "We all take the turn to be the designated driver at some stage over Christmas so friends and family get around safely to enjoy their festive traditions.

"It’s an important role and I’m delighted to support this campaign by Coca-Cola that supports and celebrates these drivers with free soft drinks in participating venues."

Over the past 12 years, Coca-Cola has invested more than €6m in the campaign to help promote road safety during the Christmas period.

The Designated Driver campaign is supported by An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and Drinkaware - as well as the PSNI, Hospitality Ulster and the NI Hotel Federation.