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More than 600 drivers stopped in Warwickshire Police anti-drink and drug driving campaign

Warwickshire Police officers have stopped over 600 vehicles during a national campaign to target those driving under the influence of drink or drugs during the festive period.

During the month-long campaign, which ran from 1st December, all frontline officers including Patrol, Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Vehicle Crime Teams and Operations Policing Unit worked together using police powers to stop and test drivers they suspected of drink or drug driving.

The intensive effort resulted in a total of 619 drivers being stopped by officers, and 471 breath tests and 36 drug wipes being completed.

Drivers were stopped and tested for a variety of reasons - 403 drivers were stopped and tested for Moving Traffic Offences such as failing to give way at a junction.

Forty-nine drivers were tested for drink and/or drugs after being involved in a road traffic collision as part of the police investigation.

Twenty-five drivers were tested when officers suspected they may be driving under the influence of alcohol and 21 drivers were tested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

As a result, a total of 44 people were arrested including 19 drivers following a positive breath test, and 21 drivers following a positive drug wipe test. Two drivers were also arrested on suspicion of being unfit through drink or drugs after being found asleep in a vehicle in the road with the keys in the ignition.

Two other drivers were arrested following a road traffic collision after failing to provide a specimen when officers suspected they were driving under the influence of alcohol.

As well as risking death or serious injury to themselves, drink or drug drivers also put others at risk. One of the arrests involved officers following a stolen van that had failed to stop. When tested, the driver provided a roadside sample of 81 when the legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. Another driver provided a sample over 55 with his three young children in the vehicle at the time and as a result appropriate safeguarding referrals were made by officers.

Assistant Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith said: “The roads remained busy for most of December and the tremendous effort by all frontline staff to make our roads safer during the current pandemic cannot be underestimated, as a quarter of all deaths on roads can be directly attributed to drink or drugs.”

Warwickshire Police thanked those members of the public who reported the details of suspected drink drivers over the Christmas period. Several arrests were made as a result.

A police spokesperson warned: “Being arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving may come as a shock for many people. You will be taken into police custody. Your photo will be taken. Further tests will be conducted to assess your alcohol level. You are likely to spend the night in a police cell until you are sober. In some situations you may end up being interviewed by an officer. If tests find you are over the limit you are likely to be charged and given a court date, where at court you are likely to lose your driving licence. You could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine.

Campaigners IAM RoadSmart highlighted the hefty financial penalty motorists could face as the consequence of a drink drive conviction. They calculate that the personal financial cost of drink driving could be as high as £70,000 when taking into account fines, legal fees, higher car insurance premiums, alternative transport costs and potential loss of earnings following conviction.

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