With the festive season approaching, police expect more people than usual will be out enjoying a drink.
Dorset Police is running the annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign from today, Friday 1 December 2017 through to Monday 1 January 2018.
Dorset Police’s Roads Policing and No Excuse teams are holding a launch event today, Friday 1 December, on Poole High Street between 10am and 2pm, in conjunction with South Western Ambulance Service and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Officers will be speaking to members of the public, raising awareness of the inherent dangers involved in drink and drug driving and encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions this Christmas.
Throughout the month-long operation, officers will be requesting breath tests from all drivers involved in road traffic collisions, irrespective of whether or not they suspect a drink driving offence.
Drivers can expect to be tested during routine stop checks and if they are stopped for an offence. Drugwipe sample kits will be used on drivers suspected of being unfit to drive through drugs.
This year anyone found to have alcohol in their system but doesn’t blow over the drink drive limit will be given a free disposable breathalyser to help them make better choices in future.
Police Constable Heidi Moxam, of the Alliance Roads Policing team, said: “Over my 20 years’ service with the traffic team, I have witnessed horrific devastation to families and their loved ones involved in collisions caused by drink and drug drivers. “Having to break the news to loved ones that a family member is never coming home is one of the worst parts of my role, but sadly it happens all too often. “Over the past decade we’ve significantly reduced the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads and we are passionate about ensuring we continue this downward trend. “I would encourage you to be the responsible driver and not to take the risk where drink or drugs are concerned. “By making drink driving socially unacceptable among your peers, we can all help to keep our residents safe.
If you have information about anyone who has been drinking or taken drugs and is about to drive, I would urge you to call us on 999 with the make and model of the vehicle, registration number and direction of travel.”
Despite long-term reductions, drink and drug driving still accounts for 15 per cent of road deaths and almost 10,000 casualties nationally each year. Inspector Matt Butler, of the Alliance Roads Policing team, said: “Alcohol and drugs impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving; reaction times and spatial awareness are affected significantly. This may still be the case the morning after, depending on how much alcohol you consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking. “If you take the risk, you could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink and drug driving affects real people with real families. Please plan ahead this Christmas and take responsibility.”
Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Over a quarter of road fatalities in Dorset this year have involved motorists impaired by alcohol, drugs or both. Every one of those deaths was needless. Making the selfish choice to drive while under the influence has the potential to devastate families. “I would like to remind motorists that for a small force, Dorset punches well above its weight when it comes to detecting offenders. I have met my commitment to train additional officers to carry out roadside screenings for cannabis and cocaine.
Currently, around half of all drugs tests conducted deliver positive results, underlining how successfully offenders are targeted. My message is simple – don’t risk it.”