Police launch summer drink and drug driving crackdown

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Warwickshire Police are warning motorists of the dangers of drink or drug driving with a new campaign.

Drink and drug driving offences typically increase during the summer with more opportunity for people to think they can risk mixing drinking with driving.

The police campaign, which features two hard-hitting viral videos, aims to raise awareness of the consequences of driving after drinking and the impact it can have.

Over the past 12 days in Warwickshire 24 people were found to be failing the drink drive limit, with a further nine testing positive for driving under the influence of drugs over the same period.

As well as targeted campaign activity over the summer months to raise awareness, enforcement of these offences will be a key priority for Warwickshire Police. Roadside checks will be carried out at all times of the day and night and on all types of road.

Over the past three years, 89 people have been killed or seriously injured in Warwickshire as a result of collisions involving drink or drugs. Of particular concern is those motorists aged between 17 and 30; Approx 45% of drivers involved in collisions causing death or serious injury involving drink or drugs were aged 17-30, of which around 82% were male.

New drug driving laws brought in two years ago make it a lot easier for police to tackle drivers who choose to drive whilst under the influence of drugs, with new drug testing kits in place to detect cannabis and cocaine. The consequences if found guilty of a drug driving offence are the same as for drink driving.

Superintendent Stephen Cullen for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, said: “We are committed to year round enforcement of offences of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, however, we are acutely aware that the summer period can see a rise in these offences.

“Extra patrols will be conducted over the summer in a bid to tackle those who commit the unacceptable act of drinking or drug driving.  Worryingly, and despite many warnings over the years about the dangers of drink/drug driving, there are still far too many reckless drivers ignoring the devastating consequences.  Alcohol and drugs both affect your ability to judge speed and distances accurately and slow down your reaction time.  We’re urging people to think hard about the consequences that a collision could lead to.”

Vicki Bristow, communications manager for the Safer Roads Partnership, added: “During the summer months most of us like to enjoy the longer evenings but this often puts people in situations where they may be drinking more than usual. Our campaign aims to highlight the fact that mixing drinking and driving simply isn’t worth the risk. Our message is very simple: If you’re driving, don’t drink any alcohol at all. Alcohol affects everyone very differently and any amount can impair your ability to drive. The only safe option is to avoid alcohol completely if you are driving, as even ‘just one drink’ could put you over the limit.”

The campaign coincides with the launch on 1st June of the summer drink drive campaign by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) which all police forces across the UK are asked to support.