Police launch Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers

Devon and Cornwall Police is running its annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign.

Devon and Cornwall Police is running its annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign. - Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched a Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers.

A month-long operation will see officers request roadside breath tests from all motorists who commit a traffic offence.

Drugwipe sample kits will be used on drivers suspected of being unfit to drive through drugs.

Officers will also be carrying out site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink or taking drugs.

It is hoped the campaign will raise awareness of the dangers involved in drink and drug driving and encourage people to take responsibility for their actions this Christmas.

Inspector Matthew Setchell, of the Devon and Cornwall Roads Policing Team, said: “We know 2020 has been a different year for us and we’re unlikely to be out socially in the same ways as before this Christmas, but I want to be clear that the pandemic will not stop us from rigorously targeting those who are a danger on our roads, day or night.

“During last year’s Christmas drink drive campaign that ran from December 18 to Jan 1, officers in Devon and Cornwall carried out 1,059 breath tests and charged 117 people with a drink drive related offence and 47 people with a drug drive related offence.

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“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.

“We want to work with the public to not place additional unnecessary pressures on our NHS.

“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 is consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking.

“If police think you are unfit to drive through consumption of alcohol, even if your breath test registers lower than the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath you can still be arrested and may be charged with an offence.

“In short, you do not have to be drunk to be a drink driver. Don’t risk it.

“It’s not just you that’s at risk. You could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink and drug driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoiding this happening is as simple as planning ahead, leaving the car at home, and using a taxi, public transport or designated driver to get home.”

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