DEVON & Cornwall Police have a simple message to all drivers this Christmas – don’t risk driving if you’ve had even one drink or have taken drugs.
Inspector Peter Thomas of the Alliance Roads Policing Team, said: “Alcohol and drugs impair many of the functions necessary for safe driving; reaction times and spatial awareness are affected significantly.
“This may still be the case the morning after, depending on how much alcohol you consumed the night before and when you stopped drinking.
“If police think you are unfit to drive through consumption of alcohol, even if your breath test registers lower than the prescribed limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath you can still be arrested and may be charged with an offence. In short, you do not have to be drunk to be a drink driver. Don’t risk it.
“It’s not just you that’s at risk. You could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink and drug driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoiding this happening is as simple as planning ahead, leaving the car at home and using a taxi, public transport or designated driver to get home.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said: “This summer my team spoke to over 5,000 people about all forms of irresponsible road use and drink driving was one of their main issues.
“We know that more people risk drinking and driving over the Christmas period but if you’re thinking of doing that I want to tell you that because we’ve invested more resources in roads policing this year you’re more likely to get caught. The consequences of that for you and the people you love can be devastating.”
Between now and January 1, 2019 a number of special operations, in addition to vigilant day to day roads policing, have been organised by the now enhanced Alliance Roads Policing team, Alliance Roads Policing Specials and No Excuse team, working with armed response vehicle (ARV) police officers and neighbourhood policing teams and in partnership with Highways England and the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership and supported by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and Devon County Council.
The force will not announce in advance where and when these are happening. These include Operation Tramline which uses an unmarked HGV cab, supplied by Highways England, to provide an unprecedented platform from which to spot offences; Operation Logjam which concentrates on speeding and the “morning after” when the roads are full of morning commuters and increased commercial traffic, and a range of local operations targeting morning after drivers and those who have been out drinking in the evening.
Sergeant Jon-Kerridge-Smith, leading the No Excuse team, said: “We are targeting irresponsible drivers.
“Breath tests will be taken from all drivers involved in collisions, irrespective of whether or not they suspect a drink driving offence. Drivers can also expect to be tested if stopped for an offence.”
Drugwipe sample kits will be used at the roadside on drivers suspected of being unfit to drive through drugs, and provide an instant result.
“Over the past decade, nationally, we’ve significantly reduced the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads and we are passionate about ensuring we continue this downward trend. We will continue to do this through enforcement and education, making drivers think twice before they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.”
“I don’t want myself, or any of the Alliance roads policing officers, to have to knock on someone’s door this Christmas to break the devastating news that a father, mother, son, daughter or partner is never coming home again.”
Devon & Cornwall Police are also informing people what to do if are concerned about someone drinking and driving. They say if it is going to happen immediately, call 999 or report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Otherwise email firstname.lastname@example.org