With the festive season on the horizon, motorists across the UK are being warned to expect extra enforcement of drink and drug driving laws.
The period between now and the end of the year is renowned for socialising, meaning the risk of driving while under the influence – including the morning after – is perhaps at its greatest.
As a result, police forces will be carrying out extra patrols and roadside checks this month – in support of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) annual festive drink and drug drive campaign, which launches on 11 December.
Emergency services and road safety officers unite in Suffolk
In Suffolk, emergency services and road safety officers have joined together to highlight ‘the full ramifications’ of driving while under the influence.
The annual month-long initiative, which launched on 1 December, will see officers carry-out roadside checks ‘day and night’ – as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity.
For the first time, an online portal has also been set-up to enable members of the public to report directly to Suffolk Police any concerns relating to suspected drink or drug-driving.
Chief inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk roads policing team, said: “We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy festive season and so this is one of our most important annual campaigns.
“Despite our constant warnings and the publicity around the dangers and consequences of drink and drug-driving, too many people are still prepared to put their lives and those of other road users at risk.
“Our message is simple, don’t take the risk – it’s not worth it. The worst-case scenario is that you are responsible for killing someone, ruining the lives of dozens of that person’s friends and family and a lengthy prison term to contemplate your actions.”
Hampshire and Thames Valley: officers to carry out tests ‘at every opportunity’
Officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police’s Joint Operations Unit are using the slogan ‘It’s Not Worth the Risk’ to discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel while under the influence.
Throughout December, officers will be seeking to detect drink and drug drivers ‘at every opportunity’ – to show the public they are proactively identifying offenders.
Sgt Scott Kerr, road safety sergeant for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police, said: “Every year officers deal with cases of drink or drug driving that directly result in families facing Christmas without loved ones.
“Even the smallest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely.
“We’ll be running targeted operations across the region to enforce the law on drink and drug driving. If you drive under the influence, you can face a fine of up to £5,000, disqualification from driving, and a lengthy prison sentence.”
‘No-one likes a drink driver’
Nottinghamshire Police has issued a warning to drink and drug drivers – saying the offences will not be tolerated on the county’s roads.
With the slogan ‘no-one likes a drink driver’, the force is trying to highlight the ‘massive life-changing consequences’ for those who commit the offence – in terms of the loss of their job, relationship and freedom to drive.
PC Phil Broughton, Nottinghamshire Police’s roads policing team, said: “Drink and drug drivers will not be tolerated on Nottinghamshire’s roads.
“Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is always a significant danger, but at Christmas the risks are even more prevalent with darker nights, bad weather and sadly, more people taking the risk by drinking or using drugs and then getting behind the wheel.
“The decision to drive when you’re over the limit takes just a split second, but the consequences could last a lifetime.”
Random ‘around the clock’ breath tests in Leicestershire
Drivers in Leicestershire face ‘around the clock’ breath tests as the county’s police force clamps down on drink drivers this December.
The force says checks will take place ‘any time of the day or night’ throughout the seasonal road safety campaign – meaning revellers who get behind the wheel the next day could still be caught out for being over the limit.
Leicestershire Police is also appealing to the public to report anyone who appears to be driving while impaired.
Chief supt Martyn Ball, Leicestershire Police, said: “Driving while impaired, whether through drink or drugs, devastates lives. Sadly, each year drink and drugs are a contributory factor in death and serious injury on the UK’s roads.
“Improved detection methods, and a change in the law, introduced four years ago have seen a rise on the number of drug drive arrests, a total of 173 people were arrested for drug driving in 2018 compared to 23 in 2015.”
“Drivers should be aware that we patrol 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to challenge drink drug drivers and bring them before the courts.”