Will you risk it this Christmas?

Drink drive campaign.
Drink drive campaign.

Lincolnshire Police have launched their drink and drug driving campaign today (Monday) which will run through to January 1.

During the Christmas drink and drug driving campaign last year officers breath-tested over 1,100 people. 67 of those drivers were arrested for either failing, refusing to provide a breath test, or for providing a positive breath test.

They are asking drivers in the county: will you take the risk this year?

Officers will be focussing their efforts to stop vehicles and talk to drivers over the Christmas period. When officers suspect a driver is impaired through drink or drugs they will be requested to provide a breath test or a drugs wipe. If the test is positive they will be arrested.

So police are telling you to ask yourself, is it worth the risk?

Will you risk your good name? Will you risk going to prison? If charged, your name will appear in the public court list and later possibly reported in the media. The penalty is a long driving ban, a minimum of 12 months and a fine of up to £5,000, a criminal record and potentially up to six months in prison.

Will you risk losing your licence? The implications in our rural county are significant.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 - £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, loss of employment and increase in car insurance as and when your licence is returned.

Will you risk killing someone? The police are asking drivers not to take the risk for many reasons, but also because they are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs when driving.

Will you risk hurting your family and friends? The force focuses on the victims and on the offender, for obvious reasons. But take time to consider what it might mean to your partner, or your children, or your parents, or your friends, to have someone close to them be convicted of drink or drug driving, or have killed someone as a result. The ripple of misery spreads far beyond those directly involved.

They are also asking members of communities to provide details of drink or drug drivers. They have re-introduced the text message service which allows anyone to text the word DRINKDRUG TO 80800 free and anonymously, with details of drink and drug drivers, their vehicle, when and where. If a driver is about to drive while impaired please call 101 or 999 in an emergency.

They have supplied posters and beer mats to publicise the service within our communities across Lincolnshire.

So, after considering that there is more chance of being stopped by police officers during Christmas, every chance someone will send them a text or ring up, that you will more than likely lose your licence and may go to prison if found guilty; Will you still risk it?

Inspector Marc Gee, Roads Policing lead for Lincolnshire Police, said: “I can’t believe people still take the risk of killing or hurting others by driving while impaired along with losing their licence and maybe going to prison. We carry out checks for drink and drug drivers throughout the year but focus more at Christmas.

“If you see someone who you think is impaired through either drink or drugs, or I shudder to think both, call us on 101 or in an emergency 999. It’s an emergency if they are driving or getting behind the wheel.

“If you know someone who drives after they had had alcohol or used drugs text DRINKDRUG to 80800 with vehicle details, when and where. This give us information and intelligence to work on.”

John Siddle, Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “Whether the victim or the perpetrator, the consequences of drink and drug driving continue to blight the people of Lincolnshire. To take the risk of driving whilst impaired is to disregard the safety of yourself and other road users. If you Drink or Drug drive you create the victims, make a better choice and don’t take the risk!”

Officers will be on patrol and testing drivers 24 hours a day, looking for those who are taking the risk and putting others in danger. Any driver, who they suspect to be driving while impaired, has committed a moving traffic offence or involved in any collision will be breath tested and consideration given to being subjected to a drug wipe.

There are strict alcohol limits for UK drivers. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is:

• 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath

• 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood

• 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

Cocaine, ketamine, diazepam, methadone, morphine, temazepam and some other drugs both prescribed and illegal are included under drug driving legislation. Police are unable to be specific on details which would equate to being over specified limits. This is due to the variables such as physical characteristics, each person will metabolise a drug at different rates. Eating or drinking will also have an effect on the blood concentration.

The advice is to continue taking medicine as advised by your doctor or healthcare professional, or according to the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine. The law gives the police powers to test and arrest drivers suspected of driving after taking controlled drugs in excess of specified levels. It also provides a medical defence if you’re taking medicine in accordance with instructions from a healthcare professional or an accompanying leaflet, provided you are not impaired. If you drive and take prescription medicine, it may be helpful to keep evidence of this with you in case you are stopped by the police. Further information can be obtained from https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/drug-driving#table-of-drugs-and-limits