“don’T drive if you plan to drink” – this was the stark message from police as they launched their annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign.
The festive crackdown sees high-profile enforcement activity by Lancashire Constabulary across the county throughout December, including checkpoints at key locations where officers will administer drink and drugs tests.
Supt Peter O’Dwyer said: “We want people to enjoy the festive season, but to remember the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Statistics show one in six fatal collisions in Lancashire involve drink or drugs – or both – and this is simply not acceptable.
“The consequences of drink-driving are high – if you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road crash than a driver who hasn’t been drinking, potentially resulting in serious injury or death.
“A conviction could also mean you lose your job, home, family and friends. The consequences can be absolutely devastating. The only safe option is not to drive if you plan to drink.”
County Coun. Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport at County Hall, said: “We work very hard to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads, but all that effort counts for nothing if individuals make the decision to drink and drive.
“Drink-driving can result in serious or even fatal collisions – and you won’t just ruin Christmas for you and your family, your actions could have serious long term consequences for yourself and others. Even a conviction could make a big difference to your life.”
The number of people caught drink and drug driving continues to fall in Lancashire, with 2% of the 10,006 people tested during last year’s Christmas campaign failing or refusing a test.
Supt O’Dwyer added: “While the figures suggest there are now less people getting behind the wheel after drinking, one person driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is too many. Our message is simple – do not drink and drive and do not take drugs and drive.”
Police are also urging revellers to take care during the party season and have issued the following advice:
If you are going out and drinking, plan how you are going to get home and stick to that plan.
Try to keep to busy well-lit areas – don’t take short cuts and walk away from bushes and buildings.
Where possible, don’t walk alone after dark. Take someone you know with you.
Always walk facing oncoming traffic.
To avoid delay, have your keys ready when you are approaching your car or home.
Never accept lifts from strangers.
When telephoning for a taxi, ask for the driver’s name and check this when they arrive.
The drink-driving campaign will run until Sunday, January 1st.
If you would like to report someone who you suspect of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact the police on 0845 125 3545.