THE dangers of driving while impaired through drink or drugs were highlighted by Hampshire police at the launch its month-long festive crackdown.
From now until New Year’s Day the force is stepping up patrols across the district to catch those who drive while under the influence and has encouraged its officers to carrying out breath, drug and field impairments tests on drivers at every opportunity.
Codenamed Operation Holly, the annual Christmas campaign involves officers from the joint operations unit of Hampshire and Test Valley Police and features the tagline “It’s not worth the risk”.
To accompany the launch, the forces revealed that on average 20% of all fatal collisions involve an impairment from drink or drugs. During last year’s Christmas period more than 150 drivers across Hampshire were arrested for related offences.
In the Hampshire and Thames Valley region officers catch around 400 drink-drivers a month.
Sgt Scott Kerr, the force’s road safety sergeant, said: “Every year officers deal with cases of drink or drug-driving that directly result in families facing Christmas without loved ones. Even the smallest amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely.
“Friends, colleagues and family members can positively influence those around them. So we are calling on them to stop potential drink or drug-drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking tragedy this Christmas.”
Sgt Kerr continued: “We’ll be running targeted operations across the region to enforce the law on drink and drug-driving.
“If you drive under the influence, you can face a fine of up to £5,000, disqualification from driving, and a lengthy prison sentence.
“If you know someone who drink or drug-drives you can help by reporting them on 101, or call 999 if they are driving or about to drive under the influence.
“I am urging people to plan ahead during the festive season to think about how you’re going to get home and don’t forget about the impact alcohol and drugs can still have the morning after.”
He added: “Our message is simple. Don’t drink or drug-drive – it’s not worth the risk.”
Anyone who has information about an individual who drinks and drug drives can report them on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If the person is an immediate risk to the public and themselves, the force suggests calling 999.