Monday, 1 December 2008

Expect the worst if you drink and drive this Christmas, say police

EXPECT to be stopped, expect to be breathalysed, and, if you are over the limit, expect to lose your licence - is the robust message police are sending out to motorists who drink and drive.
As officers launch their annual Christmas drink-drive crackdown today, they are sending out a clear message:
  • If you drive on the roads of Avon and Somerset this Christmas and you have had a drink, expect to get stopped, expect to be breathalysed, and if you are over the limit, expect to lose your licence, possibly your job, and in some cases your liberty.

  • Ask yourself, is it really worth it?

With young men making up the bulk of drink-drive offenders, police are seeking to drive home the message that unless they resist the temptation to drink, or make other arrangements to go home safely, they risk wrecking their future for the sake of one night out.
Supt Andy Pullan, the officer in charge of the force’s road policing unit, said: “Although drink-driving is a year-round problem we tackle day-in, day-out, the temptations of Christmas parties and impromptu drinks after work can mean people who might otherwise be more organised and make arrangements to get home are tempted to get behind the wheel when they should not.
“Rather than getting hung up on ‘safe limits’, our advice is that if you are driving, do not drink at all.
“One drink alone is enough to have an effect on your reactions and perceptions and put your own and other, innocent, people’s lives at risk.”
Police plan to stop and check an estimated 10,000 motorists during the festive period and will take the opportunity to speak to each one about the dangers of drink-driving and provide general crime reduction and personal safety advice.
Last Christmas, a total of 216 motorists were arrested for drink-driving across the force and 549 of those breathalysed were involved in a collision.
Supt Pullan said: “A really important part of this campaign is our appeal to members of the public to do their bit by telling us about people they suspect regularly or intend to drink and drive.
“If people do not feel confident to challenge the driver themselves, then it is imperative they contact us so we can take action.
“Nobody should risk having the death of somebody on their conscience for the sake of a phone call.”
Anybody with information about drink-drivers should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where they do not have to give their name and they could receive a reward.
In urgent cases where it is suspected somebody is driving or about to drive while drunk, thereby putting life at risk, people should dial 999.
Anybody caught driving over the limit faces a minimum punishment of:

  • A conviction in court

  • A driving ban of at least 12 months

  • An endorsement of their driving licence for 11 years - meaning it will be 11 years before their licence is ‘clean’ again

  • A criminal record

  • They could also face a fine of up to £5,000 and a six-month prison sentence

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