DRINK or drive this Christmas – you cannot do both. That’s the message Dorset Police is sending out to motorists this festive season.
The force has warned drivers it is stepping up patrols throughout December; response officers and neighbourhood teams will be running localised operations to assist traffic police and the specialist No Response team – which is also visiting pubs and clubs to issue advice.
Inspector Joe Pardey, from the Alliance Roads Policing unit, said: “Drink-driving continues to be an issue during the festive season where the temptation to drink and drive is likely to be higher than at other times of the year.
“We are determined to take dangerous drivers off the road.
“Drink-driving is a significant contributory factor in fatal and serious injury collisions and those who kill or seriously injure others while drink-driving will find themselves sent to prison.”
Last December in Dorset there were 94 positive, refused or failed breath tests. Eight of those were the morning after, between 5am and noon, with 62 aged 18-34 and 32 were 35 or older.
The force has also said drivers will be breath-tested at the roadside if police think their driving has been impaired by consuming alcohol or drugs, if they have committed a moving traffic offence or involved in a road traffic collision.
Roadside tests will also be carried out for cannabis or cocaine using a mouth swab.
The force has also reminded drivers they could still be under the influence of alcohol the morning after drinking, since it takes one hour per unit consumed plus an extra hour from your last drink for alcohol to leave the system.
It also stressed drivers do not have to be drunk to be over the legal limit – which is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
Even if a driver blows less than that at the roadside, they can still be arrested if officers think driving is impaired through alcohol and face being charged and prosecuted, the force added.
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “Being prosecuted for drink or drug-driving brings with it all the attendant shame and inconvenience, including putting your job and livelihood in jeopardy. Worse, you could kill or seriously injure yourself or another road user.
“The simple message from Dorset Police this holiday season is that even with all the temptation to drink, one for the road is unacceptable. The only way to keep yourself and other road users safe is none for the road.”
Martyn Underhill, Dorset’s police and crime commissioner, added: “It is unbelievable that there are still people out there who think it’s okay to get behind the wheel after they’ve had a lot to drink. “We’re sending out a very clear message – don’t do it.
“You will be up before the magistrates within a week, lose your licence by Christmas and possibly your job and your home in the new year.”