Northamptonshire Police launch annual winter drink and drug campaign
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Video footage of people arrested on suspicion of drink and drug driving has been released by Northamptonshire Police as it launches its annual winter campaign.
Issued for the first time, in a bid to discourage those tempted to get behind the wheel while under the influence, the compilation includes a man driving at 70mph on a busy town centre road, a man who had fallen asleep at the wheel and a man who had open cans of beer in their van.
The video serves as a stark reminder of the reality of the consequences for motorists of being caught driving over the alcohol limit and if convicted, they will also earn themselves a criminal record which could have a huge impact on their lives.
Indeed, drivers who cause a death while driving under the influence of drink or drugs face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. If they’re fortunate to not be involved in a collision, they risk up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban.
The release of the video coincides with today’s (Friday, December 1) launch of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s winter drink and drug driving campaign which once again will run up until January 2.
Officers from across the Force will be supporting the month-long crackdown in a bid to keep our communities and roads safer throughout December and to ensure everyone gets home safely to enjoy the festive season with family and friends.
Drink and drug driving is one of the main contributors in collisions and is one of the fatal five driving offences, alongside careless driving, not wearing a seat belt, excessive speed, and using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel.
In 2022, Northamptonshire Police arrested a total of 995 people on suspicion of drink driving, and between January and September of this year, a further 707 road users have been caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Although officers carry out breath tests throughout the year, there is always an increased risk at this time of year of road users getting behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs after celebrating the festivities.
During last year’s campaign, 99 road users were charged with driving while over the alcohol limit and 18 arrested for failing a roadside drug test. This compared to 83 and 13 respectively for the same period in 2021.
Inspector Ian Wills of Northamptonshire Police Roads Policing Team said: “Working alongside our Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance partners, our focus continues to be to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“It is not our intention to stop people from having fun, our intention is to try and ensure that everyone gets home safely, and no one receives that terrible knock on the door to tell them the devastating news that someone they love has been killed or seriously injured.
“If you think you are safe to drive after drinking or taking drugs, think again. Even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect the way you drive, increasing the risk of serious harm to yourself and other road users.
“It’s not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit as the way alcohol affects you depends on various factors, and the risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on the night when you have been drinking, but also the morning after, could be fatal.
“If you’re out and know you will be drinking, make sure you have plans for getting home safely without driving. If you do have to drive, our advice is to avoid alcohol completely. The only safe limit is none.”
The main aim of the campaign is to educate road users on the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs however, anyone found to be over the limit will face the full force of the law.
Over the next four weeks extra patrols will be held across the county along with proactive operations and roadside checks. These will be held at different times, including early morning operations, when drivers could still be impaired from celebrations the night before.
In addition to the video, as in previous years, drivers charged with drink or drug driving during the six-week campaign will once again be publicly named on the Northamptonshire Police website and its social media accounts.
Inspector Wills added: “While most of us know how dangerous it is to take the risk of driving under the influence and though we share this message every year, I guarantee there’ll be some who still choose to ignore it. Please don’t be one of these drivers.
“We don’t take the decision to continue to name all drivers charged with drink or drug driving lightly, however for anyone who doesn’t want to be included on this list the message is simple – do not drink or drug drive.”
Tragically in 2022, after being involved in a road collision in Northamptonshire, 36 people never returned home safely to their loved ones, and 347 required urgent medical assistance for serious and life-changing injuries.
To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Northamptonshire Police Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or 101. In an emergency, call 999.