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Crackdown begins on ‘grossly irresponsible’ drink and drug-drivers

PUBLISHED: 16:51 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 19:18 29 November 2018

Launch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Launch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Archant

Police have sent an unequivocal message to anyone staking their freedom and safety by drink or drug-driving this Christmas.

Dozens are expected to flout the law during December but they risk being caught, convicted and banned from the road within 24 hours, as part of an annual crackdown campaign.

Drivers will be breathalysed if stopped for a vehicle defect, their manner of driving, or following a collision.

Launch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign  Picture: RACHEL EDGELaunch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Time slots are then reserved for magistrates to deal with those caught over the limit.

Between 2002 and 2016, about 7% of breath tests (2,356) were failed or refused in Suffolk during the last month of the year.

Launch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign  Picture: RACHEL EDGELaunch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Last year, 70 failed drink-driving tests, while 43 tested positive for prohibited levels of drugs.

Roads police were joined at Suffolk New College by fire and rescue counterparts for the campaign launch, emphasising that many Christmas drink-drivers are not the ‘usual suspects’.

Launch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign  Picture: RACHEL EDGELaunch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign Picture: RACHEL EDGE

While young men account for a large proportion of drink-drivers, an increasing number of over 35s break the law, believing they will not be caught.

Inspector Chris Hinitt said: “It is quite harrowing, as many of the people in this age range have been targeted by decades of campaigns.

Launch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign  Picture: RACHEL EDGELaunch of the annual Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“These are people from all backgrounds, ethnicity and genders.

“Many of them have professional careers; they may have children and grandchildren, and yet they are still choosing to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

The message behind this year'’s campaign is that “not all drink-drivers will be young men this Christmas  Picture: SUFFOLK POLICEThe message behind this year'’s campaign is that “not all drink-drivers will be young men this Christmas Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

“We want to continue to drive home the message and make drink-driving socially unacceptable, no matter how old you are.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, said: “It beggars belief that despite the obvious dangers, too many motorists still take to the road under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“All drivers need to understand that drink-driving risks lives and the lives of others. It is grossly irresponsible and selfish.”

Mary Evans, county council highways chief, said: “This is a vital campaign aimed at those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the Christmas period.”

The campaign will see officers carry out roadside checks and intelligence-led enforcement.

To anonymously report drink or drug-driving, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.

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