Drink and drug drivers will be targeted with heightened enforcement and awareness activity over the Christmas period.
Staffordshire Police has commenced its annual drink and drug drive campaign which this year recognises the Covid-19 restrictions and the anticipation that more people will be drinking at home, or at the homes of friends and family in their respective ‘bubble’ over the Christmas period.
National research published by Drinkaware showed that some people have significantly increased their alcohol consumption at home during the lockdown.
And while the initial lockdown saw dramatically fewer cars on the roads, loosening of restrictions means that traffic levels are almost back at normal levels, giving added cause for concern.
Officers will be stopping anyone suspected of drink or drug driving and performing both breath and drug testing. Anyone found to be over the limit will face the full force of the law.
There will also be a focus on morning checks, with many motorists mistakenly thinking they are safe to drive the day after drinking.
Information published by the road safety charity Brake shows that even when someone is only just over the legal limit they are still six times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than someone who has drunk nothing.
Messages supporting the overall campaign with safety reminders to the public will also be utilised across a range of online channels, within supermarkets and signage and within drinking establishments across the county as and when they begin to open again.
Chief Inspector Mat Derrick of Staffordshire Roads Policing Unit said: “We understand this year has been hard, and many people will want to drink at home in place of enjoying their usual Christmas parties. However, many people don’t realise just how long alcohol stays in your system, making it unsafe to drive the following morning.
“It’s important to plan ahead this festive season especially if you are visiting another household as part of your Christmas bubble between December 23 and 27. Have a designated driver, book a taxi or make other arrangements. Don’t be tempted to drink and drive.
“There will be dedicated patrols 24/7 carrying out random roadside checks of drivers they suspect are under the influence of drinks or drugs. They will be pay particular attention to early in the morning, to target those risking driving the morning after drinking the night before.”
You are more likely to be involved in a crash if you drink drive which could cause serious injury or death. The consequences of drink and driving can also include:
• A minimum 12 month driving ban
• A criminal record
• A hefty fine
• Up to six months in prison
• A licence endorsement for 11 years.
All of which also result in increased car insurance costs, or loss of employment.
This campaign supports on-going work as part of the force’s Operation Lightning, which aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Staffordshire and to disrupt and deter criminals from using the road network.
The public are encouraged to report drink and drug drivers, providing as much information as possible so they can be investigated.
If you know someone who drink or drug drives you can report them online at www.staffordshire.police.uk on social media via Digital 101, or by calling 101.
Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If there is an immediate risk to the public always call 999.
— to www.inyourarea.co.uk