The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has launched its annual nationwide police crackdown on drink and drug driving – an offence which it says is "especially prevalent" around Christmas.
This year police forces are being encouraged to tweet the details of those charged with drink or drug-drive offences and, if convicted, release their custody photo.
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead on roads policing, said: “Those who think they are fit to take the risk of driving while intoxicated are amongst the most selfish in our society – they spare no thought for themselves and, even more gravely, they spare no thought for the lives that they are capable of irreparably destroying in the blink of an eye.
“I am encouraging forces to put a face to the names of those who would so recklessly endanger lives by, where possible, releasing the photos of those convicted of drink and drug-driving.
“It’s important we do all we can to deter people from making the choice to drink or drug-drive and pursue them to the extent of the law if they do.”
ACPO will be tweeting throughout the month including myth-busting messages correcting some of the common misconceptions about alcohol, such as wrongly assuming coffee, sleep or a cold shower can help sober you up quickly.
Police forces will also be highlighting the consequences of drink and drug driving. In particular, Hampshire Constabulary will be highlighting the story of Neal and Penny Staley, on the Isle of Wight, whose 10-year-old daughter Evey, at the outset of a very promising life, was killed by a man who chose to drive after drinking and taking drugs. Hampshire Constabulary is launching a purple-ribbon campaign against driving under the influence in her memory.
CC Davenport also issued a warning to drivers about the dangers of being over the limit the morning after drinking, saying: “We are still seeing incidents where people are unwittingly driving to work or going out the morning after a night out and are still over the limit.
"It takes an hour to process a single unit of alcohol starting from one hour after you first consume alcohol, so if you have three 250ml glasses of wine, you’re probably looking at nine hours of so before you’re sober – and even then it’s not an exact science.
“The answer is a simple one. If you know you have to drive, don’t drink. And if the thought of going out and not drinking is just too much to bear, don’t drive.”
In launching the campaign ACPO released figures showing that in December 2012 police officers breath-tested 175,831 people, 26,544 of whom were tested following a collision. The overall figure was an increase of 19,262 breath-tests administered by police in December 2011.
Of those tested following a collision, 1,962 (7.39%) tested positive or refused to comply. Of those tested who had not been involved in a crash 5,161 (3.36%) gave a positive result or refused to comply.