Police launch Christmas drink and drug driving campaign

“Motorists must take responsibility for their own actions behind the wheel,” say police.

MOTORISTS in East Devon are being urged not to put their lives at risk as part of a new Christmas drink drive campaign launched today (Thursday).

The month-long campaign by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary aims to warn drivers of the consequences of driving under the influence as the festive season gets under way.

As part of the national initiative police officers will be targeting their warnings particular at men under 25.

Figures have shown that over the years in Devon and Cornwall just under one third of all those providing breath specimens for analysis at police stations were 25 or under.

Nationally, men under 25 only make up about 10 per cent of the driving public.

Inspector Richard Pryce, the Devon & Cornwall Police lead for roads policing, said: “If the messages are not heeded by drivers themselves, we hope partners and friends will help to press things home.

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“We will prosecute anyone we stop who tests positive for drink or drugs whilst driving,” said Inspector Richard Pryce, the Devon & Cornwall Police lead for roads policing.

“Reducing harm among road users is a core police priority.

“Every single motorist must take responsibility for their own actions behind the wheel and if they don’t, the consequences are dire.

“Everyone acknowledges the human cost if a crash occurs, but if one doesn’t and you’re caught driving the social costs are huge.”

According to police figures, in December 2010, 157 people tested positive of which 28 per cent were under 25.

In total 1132 drivers under 25 were tested and of these 44 failed or refused to provide a sample.

However, Inspector Pryce says there can be no complacency and said testing for drink and drugs will remain a top priority.

He added: “The harm caused through drink and drug driving is preventable. The lethal consequences and utter devastation only becomes truly apparent when you’re touched by it personally.

“If convicted of drink or drug driving, you’ll lose your licence and if that’s needed for work, then it’s your job too. If you pay a mortgage or rent from earnings, then your home could also go. When you drive again, your insurance premiums will be increased and the endorsement on a licence stays for 10 years.”

Those convicted of drink and drugs driving can expect to be banned for at least 12 months, receive a fine of up to �5,000 and six months in prison.

Collisions resulting in a fatality where the driver is under the influence of alcohol carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.