Festive crackdown on drink-drivers

NORTH Yorkshire Police are pledging one of the biggest ever crackdowns on drink drivers over the festive period following the launch of a nationwide campaign.

Forces across the country announced yesterday they would be targeting people who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drink and drugs in the run up to Christmas.

And with 30 people killed and nearly 800 injured because of drink driving on North Yorkshire's roads in the past five years, the force has announced that more drivers face being tested this year than ever before with more officers trained to carry out impairment tests.

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As well as roadside checks, every driver involved in a collision will be breathalysed and every officer, including those on foot patrol, will carry out breath tests, not just road policing officers.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, said: "Drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they will be brought before the courts and could lose their licence before Christmas.

"The festive season is a time for celebrating and having fun, but drivers must ensure they take responsibility for other road users as well as their own.

"Remember that alcohol stays in your system for a number of hours and you could still be over the limit the next morning.

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"Be safe rather than sorry and think about the consequences of losing your licence, losing your job, and the unthinkable – losing your life or taking someone else's and having to live with that for the rest of your life."

Speaking at the launch of the North Yorkshire Police campaign, which is in partnership with 95 Alive York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, Inspector Dave Brown, said: "The numbers of people killed and injured on our roads through drink driving are far too high in this day and age.

"People drug driving is more prevalent than it used to be as well. The public find this totally unacceptable and so do we.

"We have put a lot of effort into the campaign this year and it is one of the biggest we have ever done.

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"We are going high profile with lots of roadside checks and we will be in contact with a lot more motorists to warn them about the dangers.

"If people have been drink driving there will be checks going on all over the county from the most rural areas to big cities as well. We will be everywhere and people driving under the influence of drink and drugs will be caught."

As part of the national road safety campaign, designated drivers will be offered a buy one, get one free deal on soft drinks in thousands of pubs across the country.

The offer is in addition to radio advertising, posters in pub toilets and online search activity in a campaign that will run until January 2.

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Launching the campaign, Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: "Drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel after drinking this Christmas, they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence.

"Last year 380 people were killed in accidents where the driver was over the limit. That is why our message is clear: don't drink and drive."

Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, head of roads policing with the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "This year we are using information from the public to target those areas where drink-driving is a particular problem and so the chances of getting caught are greater than ever.

"If the police stop a driver, and there is any suspicion that they have been drinking, then they will be asked to provide a breath test and drivers should be in no doubt that if they are found to be over the limit they will be brought before the courts."