Drivers are being warned to expect ‘highly visible and widespread’ enforcement of alcohol and drug laws, as part of a week-long police operation.
Organised by TISPOL (the European Traffic Police Network), the European-wide operation (10-16 Dec) will see police forces across the continent conduct drink and drug drive checks ‘day and night’.
Alongside the enforcement activity, the campaign also aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drink and drug driving – reminding drivers their ability to drive safely is impaired by even a small amount of alcohol.
TISPOL is also reminding drivers that ‘no one else can force you to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – it’s a choice you make’.
Passengers are being encouraged not to get into a car if they suspect the driver has been drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
TISPOL says officers across Europe are ‘particularly aware’ of the increasing frequency of drug driving, especially among young drivers who – in many cases – appear unaware of the dangers and ‘trivialise’ their drug use.
Paolo Cesta, TISPOL president, said: “Driving after consuming any alcohol is dangerous. Driving while over the drink drive limit is against the law.
“Drivers will experience slower reactions, poor judgement of speed, reduced coordination and concentration with much lower levels of alcohol in their system.
“It’s also important to be aware of the continuing effects of alcohol the day after an evening of drinking. Your body takes time to remove alcohol from your system. If it is still present in your body, then it will be identified during a breath test.
“A night’s sleep is no guarantee that you’re safe and legal to drive the next morning.”
Referring to drug driving, Paolo Cestra added: “If you have used recreational drugs, then do not drive.
“If you are taking medicine, whether prescribed or purchased over the counter, then read the notes of advice that go with it.
“If these tell you not to drive after taking the medicine, then do not drive. The advice is there for a reason, to keep you and others safe.
“If you are in any doubt about medicines and driving, then our advice is to consult a healthcare professional before you get behind the wheel.”