As the “95 Alive” York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership’s annual Christmas drink and drug drive campaign gets underway, police officers are warning motorists that over indulgence during the festive period could cost them their licence and even their lives.
While officers will be out in force, patrolling the roads of North Yorkshire and the City of York throughout the night to stop drink and drug drivers, they will also be focusing on catching people the morning after the night before.
It takes a number of hours for alcohol to leave your system, so if you’ve had a night out drinking, you still may not be fit to drive the next day. During last year’s Christmas crackdown 400 people were caught across the country having still been over the limit the next day.
280 people lost their lives in the UK during 2011 as a direct result of drink or drug driving, despite the well-documented dangers associated with getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs. There were also 1290 serious injuries and 9,990 total casualties directly related to drink driving incidents.
During North Yorkshire Police’s summer drink and drug drive campaign over 3000 motorists were breathalysed and 100 people were arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving.
Officers will be just as active on the county’s roads between 1 December 2012 and 1 January 2013 as they crackdown on people who flout the law and unnecessarily put lives at risk.
This will be complemented by a range of awareness and educational activities by “95 Alive partners, including the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council.
Tim Madgwick, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, said:
Everybody knows that drink and drug drive can result in the most devastating consequences, yet there are still people out there who seem to think it’s acceptable.
Drink and drug driving is certainly not acceptable and I want to assure people that if they take the risk and put the lives of innocent people in danger, they will be caught and dealt with by the courts who will take a very dim view of their actions.
Fortunately, the majority of people realise that drink and drug driving is selfish and irresponsible but those who think they can get away with it will get caught eventually.
I urge people to heed the warnings. Don’t spoil Christmas for yourself or another family. If you are drinking don’t drive, it’s as simple as that.
David Bowe, Corporate Director – Business and Environmental Services at North Yorkshire County Council said:
Simply agreeing before you go out who will be the Designated Driver – Des – for the night will avoid all the heartache and severe consequences of going to court or worse, being injured in a crash.
If you are going for a night out or to your works Christmas party, remember Des and make sure that your Des doesn’t drink alcohol or take drugs so they can get you all home safe.
North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service fully supports the actions that are being taken by the Police in tackling drink and drug driving across North Yorkshire and the City of York.
To stay safe this Christmas, avoid drinking any alcohol if you are driving and take sensible precautions by planning routes and checking weather forecasts, many of our roads are rural and unlit and can be treacherous in icy conditions.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Andy Trowsdale said:
We want people to enjoy the festive season and to make the most of the excellent pubs and restaurants across North Yorkshire, if you are driving the message is simple ‘don’t drink’, alcohol and drugs will cloud your judgement and affect your driving ability.
The Service recommends that before a night out a designated driver is nominated, a taxi is arranged, or other arrangements are put in place that do not involve driving.
During the month-long campaign a special fast-track court system will be in place to ensure that offenders are dealt with and taken off the roads as quickly as possible.
Anyone found guilty faces being banned from driving, as well as being hit in the pocket with a fine and court costs. Killing or seriously injuring someone is likely to result in a lengthy prison sentence.
Mr Madgwick added:
If you don’t want to spend Christmas behind bars or worrying about losing your licence then make sure you make arrangements to get home which doesn’t involve you driving if you have been out drinking.
To be completely sure you’re fit drive it is best not to have a drink or take drugs at all. It is simply not worth risking your own or someone else’s life when you can get a bus or a taxi home or arrange for someone to pick you up.
The public also have an important part to play in combating the danger of drink and drug drivers on our roads by reporting anyone they suspect of driving while under the influence, either to the police or Crimestoppers.
If you suspect someone of drink or drug driving contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and pass information to the Force Control Room.
If you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111.
For daily updates on drink and drug drive arrests follow @NYorksPolice on twitter #drinkdrive.