Drivers are once again being reminded of the dangers and consequences of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs as Northamptonshire Police gets set to launch its annual campaign.
From next Monday (December 9), the Force will be taking part in the month-long Christmas drink and drugs drive campaign to tackle offending in a bid to make the roads safer over the festive period.
Officers carry out breath tests throughout the year, however with more people out celebrating over Christmas and New Year, increased patrols and roadside checks will be held across the county.
These will also include early morning operations, when people may be driving after consuming alcohol or taken drugs the previous night and may not realise that they are still over the limit.
Chair of the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance (NSRA), Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper, said: “We are committed to increasing road safety in Northamptonshire and through this campaign, we will continue to raise awareness of the dangers of drink or drug driving.
“There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that could ever justify drink or drug driving – it is exceptionally selfish and reckless. Not only are you risking your own life, but those of innocent road users.
“The majority of people know how dangerous it is to take the risk of driving under the influence and though we share this message every year, I guarantee there will be some who still choose to ignore it. Please don’t be one of these drivers.
“If you do not want to be stopped, arrested, taken to the cells, charged and forced to appear before court. Or don’t want your friends, family and employers to know that you’re a drink or drug driver. The message is simple – do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
As part of the campaign, drivers charged with drink or drug driving will be publicly named on the Northamptonshire Police website and social media. This is the third time the Force has taken such a hard line approach.
Following the change in the Force policy, despite the number of breath tests more than tripling, fewer people have been arrested for being caught behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Last December, officers carried out 1,798 breath tests across the county compared to 537 in 2017, which resulted in 72 arrests for drink driving - six less than in the previous 12 months.
However the number of people who failed a roadside drug test, pending the results of blood tests, increased from six in 2017 compared to 16 for the same period last year.
PC Dave Lee from the Safer Roads Team, said: “The decision to name all drivers charged with drink or drug driving last Christmas went down a storm with the public, and again when we repeated it as part of our summer campaign.
“We will be out in force over Christmas and New Year, ready and waiting to seek strong penalties for all those found to be offending. If you do not want a conviction for drink or drug driving, please make sure your name is not included on our list.”
If you’re lucky enough not to kill or seriously injure someone by drink or drug driving, or simply don’t care, think about whether you can afford to be caught? A conviction for drink or drug driving could mean a prison sentence, a driving ban, and an unlimited fine.
PC Lee said: “As a police officer on the roads, I have seen the devastating effects drink and drug driving can have. It only takes one second to have a collision which can change your life or the life of an innocent bystander and their family.
“When the temptation to take that risk and get behind the wheel strikes, ask yourself – could you live with knowing your actions had caused a fatal collision and the devastation of an entire family?
“If you are out and know you will be drinking, make sure you have plans for getting home safely without driving. If you do have to drive, our advice is to avoid alcohol completely. The only safe limit is none.
“And if you’ve been drinking, you may still be over the limit the following morning, so if you do need to get somewhere make alternative travel arrangements so you don’t have to drive.”
To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or dial 101. In an emergency, call 999.
Message Sent By
Sarah Thomson (Police, Communications Officer, Countywide)