ACPO launch campaign to tackle drink and drug driving over festive period
The new ACPO lead for Roads Policing, DCC Suzette Davenport, said: ‘If you drink or take drugs and drive it’s only a matter of time before you’re caught. December will see police officers across the country testing drivers at hotspots to help keep your local roads safe. Anyone who decides to risk the lives of others leaves themselves open to arrest and prosecution.’
The campaign will see tests carried out at all times of the day and night, including first thing in the morning, as drivers are urged to think twice before getting behind the wheel the morning after drinking.
DCC Davenport continued: ‘People often ask how much they can safely have to drink before driving. The simple answer is that the only true safe drink drive limit is none. People must also be made aware that they could still be over the limit the morning after the night before. You might feel fine but you could still have alcohol in your system which could impair your driving.’
Last year over 170,000 drivers were breath tested during the month-long campaign, with 6,662 arrests made – nearly 4% of those tested.
DCC Davenport added: ‘We also want to remind drivers about the consequences of taking drugs and getting behind the wheel. Taking drugs and driving can have serious consequences. Even if you do not kill or seriously injure yourself or someone else, if you get caught you could face heavy fines or a ban, which in some cases could result in losing your job. Why risk your life, the lives and safety of others, and your job?’
Police forces throughout the UK will be working hard to make sure the roads are safe for everyone this Christmas. The key message is to be responsible and don’t drink or take drugs before driving. Ensure someone in your group remains sober and acts as designated driver or take public transport – that way everyone is sure to get home safely.
Provisional figures suggest that last year saw 250 deaths, 1230 serious injuries and 9,700 total casualties directly related to drink and drug driving collisions.
DCC Davenport concluded: ‘Christmas is a time for family and friends. No police officer wants to have to knock on someone’s door and deliver the message that a loved one has died or been seriously injured at the hands of a drink or drug driver. If you drink alcohol or take drugs before driving, we will catch up with you. Officers carry out breath tests throughout the year, not just at Christmas, and at all times of the day and night. I am determined to make our roads safer and this starts by removing from our roads those individuals who recklessly drink and drug drive.’
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning, said: "The number of drink drive deaths has fallen by more than 75% since 1979, but drink driving is still devastating lives with around 250 people killed in collisions where the driver was over the limit in the last year.
‘Drivers who are reckless enough to get behind the wheel after drinking put innocent road users in danger and should be in no doubt that they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence. We will be running a hard-hitting THINK! Christmas drink drive campaign reminding drivers of the consequences of getting a drink drive conviction as well as taking forward a package of measures to help the police to target the most dangerous drink drive offenders.
‘My message this Christmas is clear: don't drink and drive.’
The Christmas campaign runs from 1 December 2011 to 1 January 2012.