Police launch Christmas drink drive campaign with 202 roadside breath tests in Northampton

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A Christmas campaign to target drink and drug driving has been launched and will run throughout December.

The first phase of this operation took place in Cattle Market Road, Northampton, where 202 roadside breath tests were carried out.

Although no motorists were found to be over the limit of 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, one driver was spoken to after he received a reading of 31 micrograms.

Mike Johnson from the joint Safer Roads Team (Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service) said: “The work we do as part of this December focus on drink and drug drive offences is so important in reminding people about the danger of this kind of driving behaviour – particularly at a time of year when so many people will be out socialising a little bit more and may possibly have their minds on other things.

“We will be carrying out roadside tests in the morning and evening periods as there are so many people who fail to realise that after a night of drinking, it still may be unsafe for them to drive in the morning.”

As part of this countywide period of activity dealing with drink and drug drive offences, officers will be out and about across the county taking breath test readings from drivers and carrying out Drugwipe tests where necessary.

In December 2015, 79 people were arrested for drink or drug related offences.

Enforcement activities are being carried out by officers and Specials from the Safer Roads Team as part of their work to cut the number of collisions on the county’s roads. They will run alongside ongoing education work conducted by the team, which will take place within communities.

Kamila Kemblowska, Safer Roads Team Community Engagement Officer, said: “We hope everyone will have a happy and safe Christmas. We would always say that if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.

“It is vital to remember that you could be over the legal alcohol limit many hours after your last drink so drinkers also need to be careful when considering taking to the wheel the morning after a heavy evening of alcohol consumption.”

Drink and drug driving, points to remember:

-Alcohol affects everyone’s driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop.

-If you are planning to drink alcohol, it is sensible to also plan how to get home without driving. Agree on a designated driver, save a taxi number to your phone or make sure you are familiar with public transport routes and times before venturing out.

-Avoid offering an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive.

-Don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has consumed alcohol.

-It is illegal to drive if either you are unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs or you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood.

-Police officers can stop you and carry out a roadside drug test to screen for cannabis and cocaine.

-If you’re convicted of drug driving you could get: a minimum one year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, a criminal record. Causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

-A drink driving conviction can lead to a 12 month driving ban, a criminal record, a fine, up to six months in prison and an endorsement on your licence for 11 years.