Shame drink-drivers, says Paralympian Simon Richardson

Paralympic cyclist Simon Richardson has suggested naming and shaming drink-drivers as he backed the Wales Christmas clampdown.

The 46-year-old Porthcawl rider spent nearly a month in hospital, still needs a wheelchair, and missed the London Paralympics after he was seriously injured by a drunk driver.

He suggested putting the names of photos of those convicted on buses.

The campaign features films made by young people with strong messages.

Mr Richardson was injured when farmer Edward Adams, 60, of Cowbridge, ran into him on the A48 near Bridgend in August 2011.

The cyclist won two gold medals and a silver at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, but could not compete at this year's London Games.

Adams, who had been drinking the night before and told police had had had his first whisky at 6am on the morning of the accident, was jailed for 18 months last August.

His trial heard that Adams had bad eyesight and should not have been driving anyway.

Mr Richardson told BBC Wales at the drink-driving launch he did not think anybody went out to cause an accident, but some could be prevented.

Giving the example of people who drove the night after drinking, he said: "You're still drunk the next day. [Accidents can be prevented] just by leaving it that extra couple of hours.

'Stronger message'

"A drink-driver can always stop what they are doing."

He thinks a stronger message needs to be sent to those who drink-drive.

"I always believe drink-drivers should be named and shamed and their pictures should be on the backs of buses," he said.

The launch representing all four Wales police forces and Road Safety Wales looked at the case of a young driver who did exactly what Mr Richardson mentioned and drove the morning after drinking, not realising she was still over the limit.

Actress Kirsty Jones gave a performance as an anonymous driver who drove into a barrier on the Llanedeyrn interchange on the A48 in Cardiff in May.

The 22-year-old woman who had no previous convictions was breathalysed and found to have 71mg of alcohol per 100ml breath, or nearly twice the legal limit.

Reading the woman's words, Ms Jones said: "I didn't think for a moment I'd be over the limit. I was driving to work."

Criminal conviction

Following her arrest and wait in cells, she added: "I had never been so frightened and ashamed."

The woman was banned from driving for a year and fined £250 plus costs, but said the biggest impact was on her family, citing the effect on their lives and their disappointment.

She is now worried about the effect of a criminal conviction on her record and does not know whether she will return to driving when the ban ends.

The launch also saw a presentation of the four winning films by young people from around Wales to highlight the message.

The winners were from Yale College, Wrexham, Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest, Bridgend College, and the Ebbw Vale campus of Coleg Gwent.

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