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 Winter Drink and Drug Drive Campaign launched

 16/12/2019

Drivers are being reminded of the dangers of driving under the influence this festive season, as the 2019 Winter Drink and Drug Driving Campaign is launched.

The annual campaign – ran by the National Police Chief’s Council - will take place from December 18 until early January and aims to specifically target drivers who flout the law this Christmas time.

Both Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police will be taking action through the use of officers in Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) and the Special Constabulary.

Figures show that between 2016 and 2018, there have been 12 fatal collisions across both forces involving drink and drug driving while 98 more have been classed as serious.

The December 2018 campaign recorded the highest percentage rate of motorists testing positive, failed or refused since 2012 with 7.7% of motorists failing a breath test and 58% of drugs tests showing a positive result.

Across the Durham and Cleveland force areas, the majority of offenders were men aged 25 and older while the majority of positive breath test results were collected from drivers using urban roads.

During 2018 throughout Cleveland and Durham, 1,392 arrests were made for the offence of driving whilst impaired by alcohol and 739 drivers were arrested for driving whilst unfit through drugs.

Combining illegal drugs with alcohol is especially deadly since it has been found that drivers who have consumed both are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers.

During this year’s campaign, officers will be using mass screenings of breath tests and drugs tests at the roadside to catch dangerous drivers and using intelligence to specifically target known offenders.

Strategic Road Policing Inspector for CDSOU, Darren Breslin, said: “Drink and drug driving can have devastating consequences and we want to make sure everyone has fun safely over the Christmas period.

“We target people who commit this offence all year round but we will be out over the next few weeks actively looking for people who put themselves and others at risk by continuing to drink and drug drive.

“The idea is to educate as well as enforce so we can make sure we keep people safe over Christmas and we want to get that message across that if you’ve had a drink or taken drugs; don’t drive.”

As well as the devastating impact on those involved in a collision; consequences for drink and drug drivers can include prison time, an unlimited fine and a driving ban as well as a criminal record.

NPCC Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, said: “It is extremely frustrating that some motorists still choose to drive under the influence of drink or drugs in the knowledge their actions could kill or seriously injure themselves or others.

“Drink and drug driving is completely unacceptable at any time and catching motorists who are prepared to take such a deplorable risk is a priority for every police force in the UK.

“Sadly the winter drink and drug driving campaign will result in many motorists being arrested and placed before the courts for these offences.
“My advice is the same as always; do not drink or drug drive, your actions could kill.”

People are encouraged to report suspected drink or drug drivers by calling the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.