Essex Police launch annual Christmas drink driving campaign
THINK about the consequences - that’s the message from Essex Police as the force today (Thursday Dec 1) launches its annual Christmas anti-drink drive campaign.
Officers will be stepping up patrols between now and January 1. They will be in towns with bustling night time economies and rural areas where some drivers think they have less chance of getting caught drunk behind the wheel.
As well as breath tests, they will be testing drivers for drug use with roadside impairment tests and targeting those who use roads in Essex to commit other types of crime.
During last year’s campaign, which ran from December 1 to January 1, a total of 181 out of the 5,279 drivers stopped and breathalysed were found to be over the limit, a reduction of 31 per cent on the same period in 2009.
Of those found to be over the limit, 82 per cent were men and 18 per cent were women. A total of 28 per cent were aged under 25.
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During the 2009 campaign, 261 drivers tested positive, refused or failed to provide a sample.
Casualty reduction manager for Essex Police, Adam Pipe, said: “Drink driving is no joke. It risks lives, not just that of the driver and their passengers but other innocent people using the road and can result in a criminal record, the loss of a driving licence or a fine of up to �5,000. More seriously, those who kill or injure someone could face up to 14 years in prison and have to live with their actions for the rest of their lives.
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“Think about the consequences. Losing your licence could mean losing your job and leave you unable to pay your mortgage or rent.”
Essex Police is appealing to residents to help keep the county’s roads safe this Christmas by stopping family and friends getting behind the wheel if they have had an alcoholic drink and reporting drink drivers by:
- Dialling 999 if you know someone is drunk and you see them getting behind the wheel of a car
- Calling Essex Police on 101 to give police information about someone who regularly chooses to drink and drive
- Telling Crimestoppers anonymously about people who repeatedly drink and drive by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org
“Christmas is a time for fun and celebration but we’re asking everyone to take responsibility. We advocate that one drink is too many if you are planning to drive,” added Mr Pipe.
“If you are planning a night out, designate a driver who will stick to soft drinks and get you home safely at the end of the night.
“The reality is drink driving kills. A cold shower, something to eat and a strong black coffee won’t sober you up so don’t take the risk.”
Regional manager for Crimestoppers, Ann Scott, said: “Last year Crimestoppers received just under 100 calls about drink drivers in Essex, indicating that this is a real concern for the public.
“If someone has information about a regular drink driver they may feel uncomfortable about going to the police. Crimestoppers can take this information 100 per cent anonymously.
“We do not ask for the caller’s name or any personal details. We do not trace or record our calls and those giving information do not have to give a statement to the police or go to court. Nobody will know you called.
“In the 23 years we have been running Crimestoppers has never broken its promise of anonymity.”
Visitors to the Essex Police website – essex.police.uk/drinkdrive – will be able to keep up to date with the results of the campaign using the online totaliser.
Residents can also follow the progress of the campaign on Twitter @essexpoliceuk using the #drinkdrive