As part of Northamptonshire Police’s annual winter drink and drug drive campaign, more than 100 road users were arrested on the county’s roads during the month-long crackdown.
Officers conducted a total of 564 breath tests between December 1 and New Year’s Day, which resulted in 119 drivers arrested on suspicion of being behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.
Of those arrested, 83 were subsequently charged with driving over the prescribed limit of alcohol, which was an increase of 36 on December 2020. A total of 47 drivers were charged during that campaign, although this was held under tighter Covid-19 restrictions.
A further 85 drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol after failing or refusing to provide a specimen for analysis. All were released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Officers also arrested 13 people on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs, which was down on the previous 2020 campaign when 16 drivers were taken into custody after failing a roadside drug test.
Chair of the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, Superintendent Jen Helm, said: “Working alongside our Alliance partners, our focus continues to be to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“The work we do as part of our December campaign is so important in reminding people about the danger of this kind of driving behaviour, however just because the festive season is over, it doesn’t mean we will stop enforcing the law.
“Every year we warn people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink and drugs, yet there are still some who selfishly and recklessly choose to ignore us - not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of innocent road users.
“I’d like to thank the vast majority who did the right thing and only drove when sober, however 119 arrests and 83 charges are still too many and we will continue to crackdown on those who continue to ignore the message and get behind the wheel after having a drink or taking drugs.”
As part of the campaign, all those charged with drink driving were publicly named on the Northamptonshire Police website and its social media, which included five drivers caught on Christmas Day and eight on New Year’s Day.
PC Mo Allsopp-Clarke of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team said: “Those people caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the festive period are starting 2022 facing driving bans, hefty fines and in some cases, prison sentences.
“As a police officer on the roads, I have seen the devastating effects drink and drug driving can have. It only takes one second to have a collision which can not only change your life but the life of an innocent bystander and their family. “Just because the festive season is over, we will continue to focus on the fatal four offences – which are speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel – throughout the year.”
Drivers who cause a death while driving under the influence of drink or drugs faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment. If they’re fortunate not to be involved in a collision, if caught, they risk up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban.
However, The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink or drug drive conviction could cost up to £70,000 because of fines, solicitors fees, increase in the cost of car insurance and losing a job.
To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or dial 101. In an emergency, call 999.