Christmas crackdown on drink-driving

Beds Police are running a month-long campaign to tackle the number of people who drive under the influence of drink and drugs over the festive season.

Tuesday, 4th December 2012, 8:31 am

The campaign is designed to inform motorists of the consequences of drinking or taking drugs and then getting behind the wheel. It also warns anyone tempted that if they do drink and drive, they are very likely to be caught and arrested.

Officers will carry out breath tests and, where relevant, field impairment tests (FIT) to all drivers involved in any road collisions they attend. And they will be on the lookout for any suspicious driving, and will stop and check anyone suspected of committing a driving offence, as part of their usual patrols.

Anyone found driving under the influence of drink or drugs can face a minimum of a 12-month disqualification, as well as a fine and/or imprisonment. The offence of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs now carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment and a disqualification of at least two years.

Chief Inspector Richard Hann, from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit, said: “We are running this campaign to raise awareness amongst drivers that any alcohol in your system can impair your judgement, cause difficulty assessing road conditions and ultimately cause a serious collision.

“Individuals’ reaction times will be slower and they are less likely to observe what’s going on around them. There is no safe drink drive limit, so if you want to enjoy a drink this Christmas, then make sure you have organised a way to get home, either through a designated non-drinker, public transport or a taxi.”

He added: “It is also important to remember that alcohol will stay in your system for a while and depending on the amount of alcohol you have consumed, it is often still unsafe to drive the following morning even after a good night’s sleep.”

Police are also working with the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to expedite some drink-drive cases to court during the campaign which could mean that those found guilty could lose their licence before Christmas.

Police advise the following alternatives to drink driving:

*If you have to take the car, make sure you stick to non-alcoholic drinks rather than having one glass of wine or a pint of beer and hoping you’ll be under the legal limit – you can’t calculate your limit so don’t try to;

*Take it in turns for one of your party to be the designated driver on nights out;

*Leave the car at home and use public transport or take a registered taxi - why not pre-book one with a reputable company before you go out;

*Stick to soft drinks – it tends to be a cheaper alternative as well as helping you avoid that ‘morning after the night before’ feeling.