DOZENS of motorists had a bad start to festive season with drink and drug driving arrests in the Hampshire Police seasonal crackdown.
Operation Holly, which includes morning-after checks, launched on 1st December and running until January, has seen officers carrying out targeted patrols and roadside checks.
Anyone stopped due to concerns over their manner of driving, a vehicle defect – such as faulty light – or is involved in a collision, is being breathalysed.
Drivers unfit to drive through drink, drugs or medication, can find themselves facing a court appearance, the loss of their licence and financial penalties.
Roads safety Sergeant Rob Heard said: “We continue to enforce and target drink and drug drivers throughout the month of December. Sadly, we have made more than 150 arrests for drink and drug driving.
“Our message is plain and simple: please don’t take the risk and drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it impairs your driving ability and reactions, the consequences are devastating and your thoughtless actions ruin innocent lives.
“Many of us will take the time to celebrate. Please plan your journeys, organise taxis and consider the reality you maybe over the limit the morning after.”
In the first fortnight of December, there were 80 arrests for drink driving, and 155 drug wipes carried out across Hampshire and the Thames Valley, of which 79 were positive.
Hampshire police conducted 1,326 breath tests with 31 drink-drive arrests. The most common days for arrests were Saturday and Sunday with 71% of offenders male and most in the 35-49 age group. Of 62 drug wipe tests, 26 were positive, the most common days for arrests being Friday and Saturday and most in the 17-34 age group.
Sgt Heard added: “You can help tackle the issue by reporting to police anyone you know who is drink or drug driving by calling us on 101, texting 077814 80999 or calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If the person is an immediate risk to another, we advise calling 999.”
“We want everyone to have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.”
Last Thursday morning roads policing officers ran a drink and drug drive ‘morning-after’ operation on the north and southbound carriageways of the A34 near to Sutton Scotney.
More than 70 drivers were checked with three arrested for drink and drug driving offences, and nine other motoring offences dealt with during the four-hour operation.
Temporary Sgt Paul Blum said their main area of focus was educating drivers about the risks of drink and drug driving.
“We conducted 26 breath tests, two of which were positive. We arrested one male driver of a goods vehicle for a positive drug wipe at the scene.
“We also dealt with one no insurance, three seatbelt offences, two mobile phone offences, one no vehicle excise licence – which meant the vehicle was seized – two vehicles issued with a prohibition notice and one driver given a ticket for defective tyre.”