Motorists are being urged by police to do the right thing and not drive under the influence of drink or drugs this December.
From tomorrow, Saturday, December 1, Northamptonshire Police will be taking part in a month-long campaign which is focused on reducing the number of drink and drug drivers in the county.
The campaign forms part of the drive by Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds to cut alcohol related crime and violence in Northamptonshire.
Throughout December officers will be taking part in operations to tackle those people who decide to get behind the wheel after drinking too much or taking drugs.
Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, who is also the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for roads policing, said: “December can be a busy month with lots of social events where alcohol is on offer. We are in no way party-poopers, but we do want people to be safe on our roads. All we are asking is for people to make sure that if they are planning to go out and have a drink that they have plans to get home safely without driving. The best way to avoid being put in a difficult position if you do have to drive is to not drink any alcohol at all. The only safe limit is none.”
Officers carry out breath tests throughout the year, not just at Christmas. However, there will be increased patrols throughout the month, including early in the morning, when people are going out the morning after drinking alcohol.
DCC Davenport added: “One of our primary focuses this year is on those drivers who have consumed a large amount of alcohol during the evening. After going to bed they get up in the morning and think nothing of getting behind the wheel even though there is still a likelihood they are over the drink drive limit and so are not safe to be on our roads.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol is a primary factor in 25 per cent of all road deaths and during last years campaign the number of collisions involving people over the drink drive limit rose by 12 per cent nationally.”
Last year’s figures from the Department for Transport show drivers aged between 20 and 24 fail more breath tests (or refused to provide a specimen) that any other age category.
DCC Davenport added: “People under the age of 25 have so much to lose by getting caught drink or drug driving. The majority of drivers abide by the law and do not have a single drink, but it only takes one time to destroy their lives.
“I have seen many young people who find themselves in this situation and a common theme among them is their unimaginable regret. They simply cannot believe they have been so stupid, but all of it could be avoided by simply not driving when you have had a drink and obviously never taking drugs.”
The campaign focuses on people who take drugs and drive, as well as drink alcohol.
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?”
Officers from the Operations Tactical Unit, Safer Roads Team and across the four districts of Northamptonshire will be conducting breath tests throughout the day, every day.
Extra officers have also been made available for the duration of the campaign and members of the Special Constabulary will also be supporting the initiative.
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. I am determined to make our roads safer and this starts by removing from our roads those individuals who recklessly drink and drug drive.”
Posters and leaflets will be used throughout the campaign, asking people where they will be sleeping tonight? Images on the materials include a hospital ward, a prison cell, a mortuary bed and a domestic bed.
To report a suspected drink drive in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615, fill out the online form at www.northants.police.uk/drivewatch or if you think someone is drink or drug driving now, call 999.