As the national summer drink drive campaign launches tomorrow (1st - 30th June), Cheshire Police will be supporting with a series of anti-drink and drug driving initiatives to both raise public awareness and provide locally driven enforcement activity. The intelligence led operation, which will be driven by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), will focus on drivers aged under 30, but also daytime drinkers who may drive to ‘alcohol fuelled’ events and take the risk of driving home.
Although drink driving enforcement is an all year around activity for Cheshire Police, road safety messages will be delivered through targeted enforcements involving roadside breath tests and field impairment tests.
The UK campaign will take place alongside similar initiatives across Europe - coordinated by TISPOL (the European Traffic Police Network) which is from 3rd − 9th June.
ACPO’s enforcement campaign will target well-intentioned drivers who do not think they are breaking the law but who may be over the legal limit by the time they get into their cars to drive home. Those found to be over the limit will face prosecution, which can lead to a jail sentence.
Sergeant Rachel Gallagher of Cheshire Roads Policing Investigation Unit commented: "The message is clear − don’t drink and drive - if you have only had two large glasses of wine, that’s well over a third of the bottle so even if you may think you are ok to drive, do not take the risk.
"If you are thinking of attending a family or organised barbecue over the summer period, arrange for alternative transport to the venue or have someone drive, who will be staying on soft drinks."
Rachel continues, "We are also asking for peer group pressure to be exerted on drink and drug driving over the summer period and not to get in a car as a passenger if you think that the driver has been drinking!"
Traditionally, the summer drink driving campaign is never as hard hitting as the christmas campaign in terms of roadside tests undertaken, but nevertheless there is still a significant number of drink driving offences being committed every month, and the message needs to be replicated that driving whilst impaired remains a threat to all road users.
Assistant Chief Constable, Ruth Purdie at Cheshire Police said that "we ask the public to enjoy themselves during the summer period, but to act responsibly around alcohol, and not to drink and drive. In 2012, we made more than 1700 arrests for drinking and driving. 41% of the people involved were aged under 30.
"Some drivers felt having a few drinks was all right because they were only travelling a short distance. If you are behind the wheel and have been drinking, you are a danger to yourself and everyone else, whatever length your journey may be."
The Cheshire wide campaign will run alongside the ‘Think’ car which has been used as a platform over the last year to educate young people to the consequences of drink driving. The vehicle − donated to emergency services - by a family when their son was tragically killed in a road collision over two years ago, serves as an educational tool for Cheshire Police to take out across the county and to drive across the message to youngsters, as part of the anti-drink driving enforcement. Their son was one and a half times over the legal alcohol limit but had not been speeding − the vehicle at impact was estimated to be only 43mph in a 60mph speed limit.
A series of ‘Think’ car events will be delivered by the Cheshire Road Safety Group - which consists of Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire and Halton, Warrington and Cheshire West Council Road Safety Teams - throughout June, starting tomorrow (1st June) in Parkgate, Neston.
If you would like to read more about Cheshire Road Policing or to come to one of the ‘think’ car events, please visit cheshire.police.uk.