You may still over the limit if you drive the next day
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs not only ruins Christmas, but can destroy lives forever. This is the warning from Bedfordshire Police at the start of a month-long drink and drug driving campaign.
Irrespective of COVID-19 restrictions, officers will be enforcing the campaign while on patrol and by carrying out roadside checks due to the serious consequences of drink or drug driving.
It does not matter if people go out or stay at home to celebrate, they may not realise they are still over the limit if they drive the next day.
Drinking or drug taking impairs reaction times and the ability to think clearly. As a result, motorists who drive are under the influence are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal collision.
In Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire last year, motorists were twice as likely to be involved in a serious or fatal collision if they had been drinking or taking drugs.
Claire Danks, 47, knows the devastating effects of drink driving all too well. Her 22-year-old daughter, Lauren Danks, was killed on her way home from work by a drunk motorist who was driving at over 100mph.
Mrs Danks, from Soham, is now an ambassador for the Road Victims Trust, a charity that supports victims of fatal and life-changing road collisions across the three counties. She said:
“Being told our daughter was dead was like dropping a bomb and blowing our lives into pieces. The pain is unimaginable and there is nothing that will fix it.
“We think about Lauren every day and have many wonderful memories. But there are so many more we won’t get to have. We won’t see her get married, she will never have children. We don’t even know what she would look like now.
“What happened that night haunts us every day. Please don’t be the cause of another family’s tragedy. Please don’t drink and drive.”
Drink driving could affect foreign travel as well as increased insurance premiums
Last year, 2,244 motorists were caught drink or drug driving across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. This is around one every four hours.
Sergeant James Thorne, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit, said:
“No matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas this year, please do it safely and do not put lives and livelihoods at risk by drink or drug driving.
“It has been a hard year and we understand some people will want to make the most of the festivities. While 2020 has been different in so many ways, the law remains the same. If we catch you driving under the influence, we will prosecute you.
“Whether you stay at home or go out to celebrate, remember that alcohol takes time to leave your system. Every person is different. It is very difficult to know exactly how much alcohol has been consumed and how long it will take to leave your bloodstream. You may still be over the drink drive limit the following morning.”
Motorists caught drink or drug driving face a 12-month ban, a large fine, and a criminal record. These can lead to job loss, relationship breakdowns, foreign travel restrictions and increased insurance premiums.
Bedfordshire officers will be supporting their colleagues in the roads policing unit on operations and patrols throughout the month.
To report an incident of drink or drug driving, call 101 or 999 in an emergency.