If you are over the legal limit for drugs or alcohol then you are not welcome on our roads. This is the message that Lincolnshire and other East Midlands forces are driving home today (Tursday) with the December 1 launch of the Christmas drug and drink drive campaign.
Officers have traditionally had the use of the breathalyzer for alcohol, but today they are celebrating an extra piece of kit in their armoury.
The drug wipe, activated by saliva, will be used at the roadside by traffic cops of the East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS) across the region from today in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire. The new test can detect drugs in your system in as little as three minutes.
The consequences if you are caught drug driving are the same as drink driving - 12 month ban minimum, a criminal record, a fine and up to six months in prison.
Chief Insp Phil Vickers is urging drug and drink drivers to think twice. “Officers across the East Midlands will be conducting enforcement activity from today, with the mission of catching unfit, unsafe drivers. You know if you have taken drugs - now we will know at the roadside. Drink or drug driving is never worth the risk to yourself and to other road users but you also face the very real risk of being caught. You might think you are ok and that you will get away with it - our message today is that you won’t.”
EMOpSS will be reinforcing the message throughout December through social media and are encouraging the regions road users to support the campaign by liking and sharing these messages on Twitter and Facebook.
Public support is also being enlisted in reporting drink and drug drivers. Those who drive over the limit are being asked “who’s watching you?” If you suspect that someone is drug or drink driving call the Police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency). For their own safety and the safety of other road users, a drink or drug driver is not something that you can ignore.
Today also marks the launch of the National Police Chiefs’ Council drink and drug driving campaign that will see officers across the country out in force to keep the roads safe for everyone this Christmas. Thousands of tests will take place at all times of the day and night to catch those who pose a huge risk to themselves and other road users.
Officers will be placed in local hotspots and will follow an intelligence led approach which has proven to be successful for many forces. Last year’s campaign saw 133,996 drivers being tested nationally with a 4.39 per cent failure rate.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Policing Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said: “The impact of drink or drug driving can be devastating. Forces are committed to keeping our roads safe. Changes to the drink and drug driving laws mean that this Christmas we are better equipped than ever to catch intoxicated drivers.”
Under new legislation, drink drivers with a breath specimen of less than 51mg/100ml are no longer entitled to request a blood or urine sample. This takes away the opportunity for motorists to sober up while they wait for further testing. By breaking the law by even a small amount, a conviction or worse is a real possibly for drivers.
It is not just drink driving that is being targeted during this campaign; drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs will also be stopped and checked. Sixteen legal and illegal drugs have been covered under new legislation, which has made it easier for officers to catch and convict drug drivers. They are warned that the limits for all illegal drugs are extremely low and taking even a very small amount could put you over the limit.
Mr Davenport added: “Potential drug drivers need to remember that officers will be proactively patrolling to stop, arrest and convict those who are under the influence. Our focus is on catching those who break the law and put lives in danger.
“Drivers are urged to be responsible and to think twice before getting behind the wheel, drink or drug driving is a selfish decision that can ruin your life or someone else’s. Forces are committed to keeping the roads safe for everyone this Christmas and our message is clear - don’t take the risk”
If you suspect someone is driving while unfit to do so, report it immediately to your local police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or phone it through anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.