Suffolk’s emergency services and Roadsafe partners have joined together to launch the annual Christmas campaign highlighting the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
The month-long initiative begins tomorrow, Wednesday 1 December, and continues until Saturday 1 January, in conjunction with a UK-wide operation organised by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It will see officers carrying-out roadside checks throughout the day and night – including early morning checks – as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity.
Collisions caused by people drink or drug driving will often result in police, fire and ambulance crews all having to attend the scene and this places an additional strain on the emergency services at a busy time of year.
To highlight the wider ramifications of drink and drug driving, representatives from Suffolk Roadsafe and the county’s emergency services – including Suffolk Constabulary, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, and East of England Ambulance Service – officially launched the campaign during an event held at Ipswich East Fire Station yesterday.
‘No Excuse’ is this year’s message and throughout the campaign, Suffolk Police will be using social media to show the day to day impact of losing your licence to drink or drug driving. #NoExcuse will be used alongside hypothetical scenarios outlining the common effects this often has on relationships, finances, career prospects and more. These examples will be based on accounts given by officers who have dealt with drink or drug driving offenders.
Inspector Gary Miller, of the Joint Roads & Armed Policing Team, said: “The aim of the operation is to target irresponsible and dangerous drivers, while protecting other road users from the harm caused by those motorists.
“Driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs is one of the ‘Fatal Four’ offences, which makes you more likely to be involved in either a serious or fatal collision. While that is the most devastating scenario, for the majority of offenders the consequences are more likely to be personal – for example, losing your driving licence which could then result in losing your job.
“As the campaign is highlighting, there really is ‘No Excuse’ for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of drink or drugs – you are gambling with your life, the lives of others and your livelihood.
“Many people fall foul of still being over the limit the morning after a night out – or in the case of illegal drugs, several days later. Do not take the risk – there is no excuse and it’s not worth it.”
Tim Passmore, Police & Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Drink and drug driving kills and there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to get behind the wheel of a vehicle if they are unfit to drive. I’d like to think the message is getting through but sadly it seems there are still drivers prepared to risk their own lives and the lives of others.
“I know the vast majority of drivers are responsible but sadly there are still those, who despite the obvious dangers, insist on taking to the road under the influence of drink or drugs. Let’s all hope that this year those who have chosen to ignore the warnings in the past, take heed.
“Along with my Suffolk Roadsafe partners, I fully support Suffolk Constabulary in this campaign; it sends out a very clear message that drink/drug drivers are much more likely to get caught and prosecuted. There’s absolutely no excuse.”
During last year’s campaign in Suffolk, a total of 86 motorists were arrested, with 43 people failing breath tests and 30 people providing positive drug tests. In addition, five people failed to provide a specimen and eight people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink and drugs.
Anyone charged and bailed for drink-driving in Suffolk will appear at the next available remand court and so this effectively means that offenders could lose their driving licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed, whilst facing additional fines.
Anyone with information about suspected drink or drug driving should contact Suffolk Police, by either emailing their local Safer Neighbourhood Team – the details of which can be found here: www.suffolk.police.uk/your-area – or by calling 101.
In case of an emergency, or if you believe a crime is in progress, always dial 999
Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org