Posted on: | Dorset Police
The annual Christmas drink and drug drive campaign saw Dorset Police target those who drive while under the influence.
A total of 554 breath tests were carried out by officers during the Christmas campaign, which ran between Thursday 1 December 2016 and Sunday 1 January 2017, compared with 869 during the same period the previous year.
Motorists were tested during routine stop checks and breath tests were requested from all drivers involved in road traffic collisions, irrespective of whether or not a drink driving offence was suspected. Field Impairment Tests (FIT) were also conducted on drivers suspected of being unfit to drive through drugs.
In total, Dorset Police recorded 78 arrests during the campaign – 13 of which were for driving under the influence of drugs and four for refusing to provide a sample. During the same period the previous year, 105 people were arrested.
During the campaign, Dorset Police encouraged those out enjoying a drink during the festive period to plan how to get home without driving. Motorists were reminded of the potential consequences of driving while under the influence and the continuing effects that alcohol and drugs can have the morning after.
In all, 54 people have so far been charged with a drink or drug driving-related offence as a result of the campaign, compared to 44 during the 2015 campaign.
Of those charged, 44 were men and 10 were women. As with previous campaigns, the names and court appearance details of individuals charged were released to the media.
Officers would like to thank members of the public who supported the campaign by submitting their own messages to drink and drug drivers, which were shared on social media throughout the campaign. A selection of these can be found below:
“As a person who has been convicted of drink driving, I was completely in the wrong. I had only travelled about 400 yards but I still could have caused untold pain to other people. I hope that people are more sensible than me.”
“Turkey doesn’t taste the same in prison.”
“Don’t deceive yourself into thinking you’re a great driver and can handle it.”
“You probably won’t kill yourself, more than likely some innocent person. So think… what if someone did that to your family? How would you feel?”
“You are an award-winning selfish coward. Don’t be tight and pay for a taxi. Think, use the brain you were graced with. Your family will thank you, the families of others will thank you.”
“Please DON’T even consider one drink if you are driving. Stop to consider all of us who have had that knock at the door to be told our loved ones will never be coming home because of an inconsiderate person who thought it was ‘OK’ to drink and drive.”
Inspector Matt Butler of the traffic unit, said: “Those charged throughout the campaign were not necessarily your ‘usual’ suspects. Too many people, who are otherwise law-abiding citizens, fail to consider the untold devastation that drink and drug driving can cause.
“I have been the person knocking on the door to inform relatives that their loved one has been killed as a result of a motorist who thinks it is okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence. This is something that I do not want to do during the festive period, or any other time of year.
“As in previous years, I would like to thank those members of the public who called us to report a drink driver. Our enforcement efforts will of course continue all year round and intelligence from the public is invaluable in keeping Dorset’s roads safe.”
Our survey into Dorset residents’ attitudes to drink and drug driving found that 74 per cent of people (162 people) would not have a drink before driving. However, 23 per cent of respondents (51 people) said they would have one drink before driving. Almost three per cent of respondents (six people) said they would have two or more drinks before driving.
If you suspect someone of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, please dial 999 immediately so we can intercept.
For non-urgent matters, or to pass information about someone who regularly drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, please go to www.dorset.police.uk and follow the ‘Do it online’ function.