ALMOST one in three fatal collisions on the roads of Avon and Somerset in the last year have involved drink or drugs as a contributory factor.
This equates to 12 collisions where people were killed through drink or drug driving.
The statistics have been highlighted as Avon and Somerset Police participate in the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Winter Drink and Drug Driving Operation which runs until January 1.
Fifty arrests for drink and drug driving offences have been made since December 1. This is up from 32 in the equivalent period last year, when a total of 229 people were arrested during the annual campaign and up from 26 in the equivalent period in 2019, which saw 221 arrests across the month.
Officers are carrying out the largest operation in recent years, employing roadside tests and using information from the public to target known and repeat offenders.
Inspector Andy Barry from the Roads Policing Unit said: “This has been a challenging year and we want people to be able to enjoy and celebrate Christmas, but driving under the influence of drink or drugs is never acceptable and we will not hesitate to use our powers to take motorists and their vehicles off the road.
“We are stepping up activity in the run-up to Christmas with the aim of reducing fatal and serious injury road traffic collisions and protecting other road users. If you choose to drink and drive there is a high chance of being caught by our officers.
“Tell us if you suspect drink/drug driving is happening. You information will help us make targeted arrests and inform our patrols. Together we can get dangerous and irresponsible drivers off of the roads this Christmas.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford added: “Selfish and reckless behaviour can have devastating consequences for both you and others. Every death on the roads is a tragedy and I’m shocked to learn the proportion of fatal collisions linked to drink or drug related driving is increasing in Avon and Somerset. I urge motorists to follow the law and take personal responsibility for never getting behind the wheel when under the influence of drink or drugs. It is never worth the risk.”
Drivers risk up to six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban if they are caught driving while above the legal limit. Anyone who causes a death while drink or drug driving faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
Reports can be made online or by calling 101. Alternatively reports can be made anonymously to Crimestoppers. If someone is currently driving under the influence of drink or drugs, call 999.
Avon and Somerset Police have shared the following tips to keep drivers safe:
- Do not drink or drug drive – and do not let anyone you know do so either. Your reaction time will be slower and you are more of a risk to yourself and others.
- Plan travel arrangements in advance and arrange a designated driver who won’t drink or take any drugs and will take responsibility for getting everyone home safely.
- Be aware of the risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on the evening of drinking, but also the morning after.
- Having a large cup of coffee won’t clear the body of alcohol or dull its effects. The only thing that can sober you up is time.
- It’s safest not to drink at all if you are driving early the next day.
- When drinking at home it can more difficult to judge measures, so don’t drive.