- Halfords was selling key rings with slogans ‘encouraging’ drink driving
- ‘M1N3S A P1NT’ and ‘W4ASTED’ on sale alongside other novelty phrases
- Driving groups branded the £1.99 stocking-fillers ‘irresponsible’ and ‘silly’
- Halfords say they are conducting a ‘review’ following the complaints
Motoring chain-store Halfords has been criticised by road safety groups for selling key rings apparently promoting drink driving.
The stocking-fillers are being sold at several stores across the UK with slogans such as ‘M1NE5 A P1NT’ and ‘W4STED’ on them.
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said they send out ‘a very irresponsible message’.
‘They make light of a serious problem on UK roads – traffic is the biggest killer of young people.
‘A combination of age and inexperience, means that young drivers are hugely overrepresented in road crashes.
She stressed it’s particularly important to send out the right messages to young drivers as they are more likely to take risks and are less able to deal with the consequences of the risks.
‘That’s why it’s so important that we send out the right messages to young drivers – that risk taking on roads is deadly serious.
‘It could cost your health or even your life if you take risks like speeding or drinking alcohol or taking drugs and driving.’
Hundreds of people are killed while drink driving each year, with 230 fatalities recorded in 2011 alone.
Pam Hatton, 42, said she was shocked when she saw the key rings in one of Halford’s stores. They were spotted in Cardiff store but are sold in many of the motoring chain’s other stores.
‘I couldn’t believe it,’ she said. ‘I can’t believe a responsible company would be so stupid as to encourage this kind of behaviour.
‘Don’t they know how many people die every year because of drink driving?”
Neil Greig, director of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: ‘These are silly gifts for silly people.
‘Clearly these keyrings are totally out of touch with most people’s views on driving – sadly safety messages aren’t seen as being as cool as this sort of thing. They can’t be banned, so our simple message is don’t buy one.
Andrew Misell, director of Alcohol Concern, also criticised the key rings: ‘Alcohol and cars just don’t mix,
‘Obviously these key rings are supposed to be a bit of a laugh, but I doubt anyone who’s suffered as a result of drink driving will see the funny side.’
The Government advises that any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive and say ‘it’s better to have none for the road’.
A conviction for drink driving can lead to a fine of £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists say being caught drink driving could cost between £20,000 and £50,000 in fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job.
A Halfords spokesman said: ‘We take the issues of road safety and drink driving very seriously. Our consistent and strong advice to motorists is not to drink and drive.
‘The keyrings are popular with our customers who see them as a fun item and the slogans are not meant to encourage irresponsible driving at all.
‘We do take on board this feedback and will review the range, removing any items that fall short of acceptable standards.’