Road Safety Group GEM Motoring Assist Joins The Battle To Keep Pubs Open
Campaigning motoring organisation says the alternative services provided by rural Inns plays a key part in combating tiredness behind the wheel
SURPRISINGLY, a leading group concerned with the safety of all road users is joining the campaign dramatically led by real ale heroes CAMRA to keep community and rural pubs open.
GEM Motoring Assist, formerly known as the Guild of Experienced Motorists, says country public houses and those in small towns and villages provide a vital role in offering a real alternative to soulless and expensive motorway services.
Chief Executive of GEM David Williams argues: “For centuries, since the days of religious pilgrims and later the romantic stage coach, hostelries have offered a welcoming refuge for weary travellers. We are now losing that tradition as public houses close in their hundreds and our choice of stopping places to ‘water the horses and take sustenance’ is being severely restricted”.
“This has a knock on effect as drivers choose not to take an essential break (which should happen for every two hours on the road) and press on for home when tired and losing concentration”.
“There was a time when you could drive along a motorway or trunk road and look for church steeple in the distance and be fairly certain that a welcoming inn would be nestled alongside the place of worship.”
He said public houses are now a lot more than sources of alcohol as GEM condemns drinking and driving. David said: “Pubs now serve good tea and coffee and a vast selection of soft drinks. They are comfortable places to relax, offer value food and have clean toilet facilities.”
Accountancy and business recovery experts PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecast that conservatively 6,000 more pubs will shut by 2012 while CAMRA, that has been campaigning for real ale, pubs and drinkers rights since 1971, claims it is a frightening reality that at least 56 pubs are closing in Britain each month. It says the majority of these pubs are not high street chain pubs or theme bars but community pubs at the heart of conurbations that may just be small villages. It says: “Nothing can match the British pub for its service and atmosphere.”
GEM reports that the latest figures show that the dangers of driving when tired and losing concentration reveal that driver fatigue is a factor in one fifth of road crashes resulting in around 300 deaths each year.
GEM is urging its 60,000 members to plan their journeys in a manner that allows the opportunity to stop at a welcoming inn rather than a crowded motorway service area. “You will never know what wonderful treasures you may discover unless you take the opportunity to drive a mile or two off the motorway or trunk road,” said David. “It could be a great motivation to take that essential break that makes everyone a safer
Detailed information on the problem of driver fatigue can be found in the motoring advice section on the GEM Motoring Assist web site: www.motoringassist.com. The organisation also publishes a series of free booklets on safer motoring and road usage. A full list is available on the web site.