Police and partner agencies are stepping up the fight against drink and drug driving as part of a national month-long crackdown.
The Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) Summer Drink and Drug Drive campaign launched today, 1 June, and will run to 30 June.
To support this, officers and PCSOs from North Yorkshire Police will provide a visible presence through a coordinated programme of road checks and awareness activities as part of the 95 Alive York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership .
Suspected offenders will be identified and targeted through the gathering of intelligence.
Local residents are also being urged to play their part in the campaign by providing information anonymously about suspected drink and drug drivers to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 500 111.
People can also pass information directly to North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7.
As part of the education and awareness side of the campaign, the police and partners will be promoting the established DESignate scheme, which encourages groups of revellers to appoint a designated driver.
Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “The commitment of the 95 Alive partnership to tackle drink and drug driving is absolute. This criminal behaviour is reckless in the extreme and can devastate lives.
“Through the combination of police enforcement and increasing awareness about the dangers involved, we want to get the message across that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated.
“Anyone involved in a collision or who commits a traffic offence, however minor, or is suspected of having alcohol in their body, will be breathalysed as a matter of routine. Road policing officers are also trained to carry out field impairment tests on those suspected of taking drugs.
“I also urge local residents to watch out for suspected offenders who are willing to risk life and limb by getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. If you believe someone is breaking the law please do not hesitate to contact North Yorkshire Police or Crimestoppers anonymously. We will do everything within our power to act upon the information we receive.”
ACC Cross added: “The simplest and safest advice we can give to people is to avoid drinking and driving completely. The very serious consequences of being caught by the police or injuring yourself or others are just not worth the risk.
“If you are having a night out this summer then appoint a designated driver who stays on soft drinks for the evening. Or better still, arrange a taxi so everyone can enjoy the night without any worries.”
Andrew Darling, from North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We fully support the police enforcement to prevent people from trying to drive on our roads when they have been drinking or taking drugs.
“We are keen to see people enjoy the summer – we have some of the best local pubs in the country and they are great places for a good lunch or evening meal – but please DESignate a driver and take turns so that you can enjoy all that Yorkshire pubs have to offer without putting yourself or others on the roads at risk.
“We are encouraging our pubs to support DESignated drivers by providing soft drinks and coffee so that they can help to get their customers home safely.”
Trish Hirst from City of York Council’s Road Safety team, said: “We are hoping that the ‘Des’ message will remind people to act responsibly. Drink and drug driving is a serious issue that not only affects those who are injured or killed, but their family and friends as well, and the driver of the vehicle.”
In the past five years in York and North Yorkshire, 259 people have been killed or seriously injured in collisions involving drunk drivers.
The least that will happen if drivers are caught over the limit will be a minimum 12 month ban and up to a £5,000 fine. This can lead to the loss of jobs, the break up of relationships and all that follows. Worse, they could kill or seriously injure themselves or someone else.
A conviction of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and a minimum two year driving ban.