As the Christmas season returns in full swing for the first time in two years, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland together with Coca-Cola Ireland have announced the return of the ‘Designated Driver’ campaign for the 18th year.
‘Designated Driver’ is Coca-Cola’s annual initiative rewarding those who ensure that their friends and family members get home safely through the provision of avoiding alcohol for the evening to provide them with a lift home.
Such Drivers can get two soft drinks from the Coca-Cola range free-of-charge at over 550 participating venues across Ireland and Northern Ireland simply by making themselves known to bar staff.
Drinks from the range include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Sprite, Deep RiverRock and Fruice.
Christmas is an expensive time of year and paying for parking when on a night out can be an added strain on purse strings. Coca-Cola knows this can be an additional barrier for Designated Drivers and for that reason it will also reward Designated Drivers by providing free parking spaces at Q-Park car parks in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green, Grand Parade in Cork, Eyre Square in Galway and Victoria Square in Belfast every weekend during the month of December. But Drivers need to pre-book their spot in participating Q-Parks via www.q-park.ie and enter the promo code CocaCola at checkout to get the free parking.
Designated Drivers will also be able to avail of a special Christmas car valet from the Coca-Cola elves while they’re parked before 6pm.
Designated Drivers should let the valet team know at any of the four locations that they’re a Coca-Cola Designated Driver and they can return to a sparkling car with added Coca-Cola Christmas treats.
Both the Q-Park parking space and the car valet are available on a first-come-first-served basis and must be booked online in advance.
This year broadcaster and influencer Carl Mullan is stepping-up as Coca-Cola Ambassador on behalf of Designated Drivers to raise awareness of the crucial role they play in helping others celebrate Christmas and encourage them to gain the recognition they deserve with Coca-Cola. Carl will be joined by fellow broadcaster Melissa Riddell in Northern Ireland.
“We all want to come together this festive season to celebrate with friends and family members” said Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton TD, speaking at the launch of the scheme, “but no one wants that celebration to result in death or injuries because of a road collision.
“Unfortunately, 142 deaths have occurred on our roads already this year, an increase of 23 compared to the same period in 2021. No one wants that to be their family member or friend. The Designated Driver campaign not only encourages drivers to stay sober with free soft drinks but it also recognises the contribution they make in keeping their loved ones safe.”
Research from the Road Safety Authority earlier this year showed that one in four motorists (26%) agreed that there were times when they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after a night out.
“That research also showed that 74% agreed that one alcoholic drink can impair driving,” said the Road Safety Authority’s Chief Executive Sam Waide in echoing the Minister’s sentiments, “This Christmas I urge those going out to plan ahead, consider the increased competition for taxis and perhaps take turns being the Designated Driver.”
Designated Driver is supported by the Department of Transport, the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, Drinkaware, the Licenced Vintners Federation, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Irish Hotels Federation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland.