The Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire is warning people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs this summer.
As the weather improves and people start to take holidays, drink and drug driving offences typically increase during the summer.
As well as targeted campaign activity over the summer months to raise awareness, enforcement of these offences will be a key priority for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police. Roadside checks will be carried out at all times of the day and night and on all types of road and drivers will be automatically tested if a collision occurs.
The campaign, which will air on local radio and in local media, is encouraging motorists to consider if they could be ‘over the limit’ before they get in their car to drive.
Most people understand that driving whilst over the legal limit is a criminal offence, but how well do you know the limit? How many drinks are ‘safe’? How long after are you safe to drive?
Over the past three years, 102 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; 41% of drivers involved in collisions causing death or serious injury involving drink or drugs were aged 17-30 and just over 85% were male.
The immediate consequences for anyone if they are caught drink or drug 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 or drug driving can have a major impact on the future prospects of a young person. For example, it may lead to job loss and significant problems when applying for a job in the future.
Driving after drinking or taking drugs significantly increases the chances of a person being involved in or causing a collision. The maximum penalty of being convicted of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs is 14 years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, disqualification from driving for at least 2 years and a mandatory extended driving test.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership says: “During the summer months people may be in situations where they are drinking more than usual with holidays, barbecues and other social occasions. We are aiming to highlight that the risk of being caught or being involved in a collision after drinking and driving simply isn’t worth it. Our message is simple; If you are planning to drink, leave the car behind. Don’t drink and drive.”
T/Supt Steve Owen, Policing Operations, Warwickshire & West Mercia Police says;
“Cracking down on those who take drugs or drink and then drive is a year round commitment for Warwickshire and West Mercia. However, we are very aware the summer period can present opportunities where people are tempted to drive after taking drugs or drinking. To combat this, extra attention will be made throughout 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. If you are tempted to drive under the influence of drink or drugs this summer then spare a thought for your family, friends and other innocent road users and think hard about what you will put them through if you cause a crash.”
For more information about the Over The Limit campaign, visit www.over-the-limit.co.uk.