Police have launched their annual Christmas drink-driving campaign this morning with a warning to drivers that it just isn’t worth the risk.
Officers began the month-long crackdown on Tuesday morning and will out in force around Norfolk and Suffolk to test motorists for both drink and drugs until January 1.
Last year, 79 motorists across Norfolk gave positive readings during the Christmas campaign, out of nearly 2,500 tests, while 109 positive tests out of 2,190 were recorded in Suffolk.
And Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the combined Norfolk and Suffolk roads policing unit, said that figure showed there was still a “significant minority” of motorists who are prepared to take a chance, despite the warnings that are issued by officers each year.
He said: “We know that driving under the influence impairs your judgement and makes your reactions slower, increasing the chance of being involved in a collision, and is one of the ‘fatal four’ factors that have been shown to contribute to collisions where people have been killed or seriously injured.
“However, there are still some who get behind the wheel after drinking or drug taking.”
He added: “The seasonal campaigns give us the opportunity to highlight the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel while over the limit and the possible consequences.
“In the most serious cases the consequences of your actions could cause serious injury or even death. The risk simply isn’t worth it.”
This year, extra patrols will be carried out by the Norfolk and Suffolk forces’ joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, including the newly formed Road Casualty Reduction Team which was set up earlier this year.
Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, Stephen Bett, said: “No-one can say they are unaware of the potential consequences, no-one can think themselves unlucky, no-one can claim ignorance.
“Those who choose to drink and drive are putting themselves and others at risk.”
Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “It beggars belief that despite the obvious dangers, too many drivers are still taking to the road under the influence of drink or drugs.
“All drivers need to understand that drink driving risks lives and the lives of others, it is grossly irresponsible and selfish.
“I hope that slowly but surely the message is getting through, this cavalier attitude to safety is completely unacceptable and I urge drivers to take heed this year. Sadly too many drivers have still not learnt the lesson – drink driving kills.”
Police say that people should call 999 if they believe someone is about to commit a drink or drug-driving offence so that officers can be sent to the area.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 to pass on information about someone you know who regularly drinks and drives.