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Winter Drink and Drug Driving Campaign Launch

Alert message sent 17/12/2019 16:35:00

Information sent on behalf of Durham Constabulary

Drivers are being reminded of the dangers of driving under the influence this festive season, as the 2019 Winter Drink and Drug Driving Campaign is launched.  The annual campaign – ran by the National Police Chief’s Council - will take place from December 18 to January 1 and specifically target drivers who flout the law this Christmas time.  Both Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police will be taking action through the use of officers in Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) and the Special Constabulary.

Figures show that between 2016 and 2018, there have been 12 fatal collisions across both forces involving drink and drug driving while 98 more have been classed as serious.  A total of 45 police forces took part in the month of action last year, with nearly 72,000 breath tests and around 3,200 drug tests being carried out.  The December 2018 campaign recorded the highest percentage rate of motorists testing positive, failed or refused since 2012 with 7.7% of motorists failing a breath test and 58% of drugs tests showing a positive result.

Across the Durham and Cleveland force areas, the majority of offenders were men aged 25 and older while the majority of positive breath test results were collected from drivers using urban roads.  During 2018 throughout Cleveland and Durham, 1,392 arrests were made for the offence of driving whilst impaired by alcohol and 739 drivers were arrested for driving whilst unfit through drugs.

Combining illegal drugs with alcohol is especially deadly since it has been found that drivers who have consumed both are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers.

During this year’s month of action, officers will be using mass screenings of breath tests and drugs tests at the roadside to catch dangerous drivers and using intelligence to specifically target known offenders.  Officers will also be raising awareness of the harm caused by those who choose to drink and drug drive and educating drivers on the Fatal 4.

Strategic Road Policing Inspector for CDSOU, Darren Breslin, said: “Drink and drug driving can have devastating consequences and we want to make sure everyone has fun safely over the Christmas period.

“We will be out over the next few weeks and actively looking for people who put themselves and others at risk by continuing to drink and drug drive.
“The idea is to educate as well as enforce so we can make sure we keep people safe over Christmas and we want to get that message across that if you’ve had a drink or taken drugs; don’t drive.”

As well as the devastating impact on those involved in a collision; consequences for drink and drug drivers can include prison time, an unlimited fine and a driving ban as well as a criminal record. 

People are encouraged to report suspected drink or drug drivers by calling the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Message sent by
Ruth Thompson (Police , Road Safety, Durham )

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