Athlete seriously injured by drunk driver speaks at launch of Welsh anti drink-driving campaign

Former Paralympic cycling champion Simon Richardson, whose dreams of competing at London 2012 when he was seriously injured while training by a van driven by a man who had been drinking, has said that drink-drivers should be named and shamed.

Richardson, still confined to a wheelchair as he makes a very slow recovery from the incident in August last year that left him in a coma and with multiple injuries, was speaking at the launch in Cardiff yesterday of the All Wales Anti Drink/Drug Driving Campaign as the festive season approaches.

Farmer Edward Adams, who had initially fled the scene, told police after his arrest that he had begun drinking whisky at 6am on the day in question. Following his trial at Cardiff Crown Court earlier this year, in which the prosecution also established that Adams had detective vision, he was jailed for 18 months.

“I always believe drink-drivers should be named and shamed and their pictures should be on the backs of buses,” said Richardson, quoted on BBC Wales.

He added that while he did not think people who had been drinking deliberately set out to cause an incident, he did maintain that prevention was possible, citing the instance of someone who gets behind the wheel the morning after a heavy night.

"You're still drunk the next day,” he said, adding that “just by leaving it that extra couple of hours” could make the difference. "A drink-driver can always stop what they are doing.”

The campaign is being led by South Wales Police on behalf of all four of the police forces in Wales.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis commented:
“Our message to drivers is that the smallest amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely, so the only safe option is to not drink at all. 

“It is also important to remember that a drink you enjoy in the evening can leave you over the limit when driving your car the next morning as alcohol stays in the system for many hours after you stop drinking.

“We urge the public to contact the police if they are aware of anyone drinking and driving. That phone call could save a life this Christmas.”

As part of the initiative, officers across Wales will be conducing spot checks on motorists in high-profile locations, as well as gathering intelligence that they hope will lead to offenders being caught.

Susan Storch, chair of Road Safety Wale, added: "My advice is that if you're expecting to drink alcohol during the Christmas holiday, plan how to get home without driving.

“Don't offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive and don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.