Drink drive warning

3rd June, 2011

The Safer Roads Partnership and West Mercia Police are today warning people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs during this summer.

With the summer months and warmer weather approaching drink and drug drive offences typically increase and to combat this, enforcement of these offences over the summer 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 and drivers will be automatically tested if a collision occurs.

Over the past 3 years 66 people have been killed or seriously injured in Shropshire and Telford as a result of collisions involving drink or drugs. Of particular concern is those motorists aged between 17 and 30. Young people are over represented in collision statistics in Shropshire. 48% of drivers involved in fatal collisions involving drink or drugs were aged 17-30 and 73% of drivers from collisions involving drink or drugs 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. 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; Don’t Drink and Drive, it’s not worth it”

Act Supt Lee Davenport, head of the Force Operations Department said:
“Cracking down on those who take drugs or drink and then drive is a year round commitment for 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 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.”

The campaign coincides with the launch on 1 June of the summer drink drive campaign by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).