Cells await drink drivers

IF YOU get behind the wheel of a car having consumed too much drink, you risk not only being jailed or fined but also your car and job.That is the message today from all the agencies involved in this year's anti-drink and drugs driving campaign.

Naomi Cassidy

IF YOU get behind the wheel of a car having consumed too much drink, you risk not only being jailed or fined but also your car and job.

That is the message today from all the agencies involved in this year's anti-drink and drugs driving campaign.

The Evening Star launched its annual name and shame campaign yesterday which promises to humiliate irresponsible motorists who put others lives at risk when they drive while over the legal drink limit.

Suffolk Police and the Department for Transport have also joined forces to officially launch their Christmas drink drive campaign.

Steve Green, a spokesman on behalf of the DfT for the Suffolk region, said: “People who drink before driving have to realise that it could ruin their life and the lives of others. Through the DfT's THINK! Campaign we are appealing to young men to think before they have that drink. Get caught drink driving and you'll be processed like any other criminal. The flashing blue lights are just the beginning-you could face a heavy fine, losing your job and car, and risking your relationships.”

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The Department for Transport's £1.6million THINK! campaign has also been launched and is supported by Coca-Coal, meaning designated drivers will receive free soft drinks at thousands of pubs across the country.

The Star's tough stance has been in operation for more than a decade and in that time hundreds of irresponsible motorists have been exposed. The campaign is supported by Suffolk Police. Every driver found guilty at court will have their name published in the Star.

Those caught are also likely to have their pictures printed so they are forced to face the full shame of their potentially deadly acts.

Suffolk is one of many forces around that country that is now using new digital breath testing equipment, finished by a £2million investment by the DfT.

The legal limit is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100millilitres of blood, or 35microgrammes per 100millilitres of breath.

Has your life been affected by a drink driver? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

PUT it this way, I don't plan to hurry back to the cells anytime soon.

To coincide with the launch of the government's and Suffolk Police's Christmas Drink and Drug Drive campaign, I was given the opportunity to see what life is like from the wrong side of the law.

The mock-up scenario began by being stopped by Sergeant John Hawkes from the road's policing unit, who asked me to take a road side breath test as he had reason to believe I was over the legal drink drive limit.

For the purposes of the camera Sgt Hawkes inserted a small alcohol wipe into the tube, which had been donated by the hospital for the purposes of test runs, to ensure I got a positive reading. I took a deep breath and steadily blew into the tube, which showed a reading of nine times over the legal limit. Had such a reading been true, I would have barely been able to walk.

I was then formally arrested and ushered into Ipswich Police Station where I was booked in by an officer and ordered to blow into a more accurate breath test machine, an 'intoximeter'. The reading from this is the one relied on in court.

From there I had my fingerprints taken together with a swab of DNA from the inside of my mouth. I then had the token 'convict' photo taken for police files.

The session finished with me being thrown into a custody cell, leaving me alone with four bare walls, a toilet, a hard mattress just slightly off the floor and no natural light. There was a sense of claustrophobia within those few seconds of deafening silence and certainly made me appreciate that it would not be a good place to be for a long time.