Police chiefs have warned that anyone getting behind the wheel ‘after a festive drink or two’ faces the prospect of ending up behind bars this Christmas.
Throughout December, police forces will target drink and drug drivers as part of an annual Christmas operation led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
During last year’s campaign, which took place over a two-week period, more than 30,000 breath tests were taken – of which over 3,231 motorists failed or refused to provide a sample. In addition, 1,175 drivers failed a roadside drug test.
This year’s operation got underway on 1 December, and will see officers set up stop sites across the country to detect offenders.
It comes as research published by Drinkaware shows that some people have significantly increased their alcohol consumption at home during the lockdown.
Commander Kyle Gordon, NPCC lead for roads operations, said: “I understand that this year has been incredibly difficult for everyone, and we all want to enjoy the festive season with loved ones; possibly even more this year than in others.
“It is certainly not our intention to stop anyone from celebrating during the Christmas period, but it remains a reality that drink or drug driving can, and does, kill.
“Tragically, the Christmas period is the time of the year when motorists seem to accept the risk of drinking and driving on our roads.
“Disappointingly, it is also the time of year when family and friends seem to tolerate their loved ones taking this risk, when they wouldn’t dream of condoning this type of behaviour at other times of the year.
“Drivers must be aware of the risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on an evening when they have been drinking, but also the morning after. Sleeping it off or having a large cup of coffee won’t clear the body of alcohol or dull its effects.
“The only thing that can sober you up is time, and it’s safest not to drink at all if you are driving early the next day.”