The Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire and West Mercia is warning people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs this summer.
Drink and drug driving offences typically increase during the summer with more opportunity for people to think they can risk mixing drinking with driving. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the consequences of driving after drinking and the impact it can have.
The campaign is being highlighted with two hard-hitting viral videos which will be promoted across West Mercia on social media. As well as targeted campaign activity over the summer months to raise awareness, enforcement of these offences will be a key priority for West Mercia Police. Roadside checks will be carried out at all times of the day and night and on all types of road.
Over the past three years, 122 people have been killed or seriously injured in West Mercia as a result of collisions involving drink or drugs. Of particular concern is those motorists aged between 17 and 30; Approx 45% of drivers involved in collisions causing death or serious injury involving drink or drugs were aged 17-30, of which around 82% were male.
The immediate consequences for anyone if they are caught drink driving include a minimum 12 month driving ban, up to 6 months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record. A conviction for drink driving can have a major impact on the future prospects of a young person. For example, it may lead to job loss, significant problems when applying for a job in the future and difficulty travelling abroad.
New drug driving laws brought in two years ago also make it a lot easier for the police to tackle drivers who choose to drive whilst under the influence of drugs, with new drug testing kits in place to detect cannabis and cocaine. The consequences if found guilty of a drug driving offence is the same as for drink driving.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership says: “During the summer months most of us like to enjoy the longer evenings but this often puts people in situations where they may be drinking more than usual. Our campaign aims to highlight the fact that mixing drinking and driving simply isn’t worth the risk. Our message is very simple: If you’re driving, don’t drink any alcohol at all. Alcohol affects everyone very differently and any amount can impair your ability to drive. The only safe option is to avoid alcohol completely if you are driving, as even ‘just one drink’ could put you over the limit.”
Superintendent Daryn Elton for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police comments: “We are committed to year round enforcement of offences of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, however we are acutely aware that the summer period can see a rise in these offences. Extra patrols will be conducted over the summer in a bid to tackle those who commit the unacceptable act of drinking or drug driving. Worryingly, and despite many warnings over the years about the dangers of drink/drug driving, there are still far too many reckless drivers ignoring the devastating consequences. Alcohol and drugs both affect your ability to judge speed and distances accurately and slow down your reaction time. We’re urging people to think hard about the consequences that a collision could lead to.”
The campaign coincides with the launch on 1st June of the summer drink drive campaign by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) which all police forces across the UK are asked to support.