Northumbria Police is backing a national summer campaign to clamp down on drink-driving.
Recent legislation means you are more likely than ever to get caught if you are driving under the influence and officers from the force’s road-safety Operation Dragoon team are warning drivers not to take the risk this summer.
Officers will be out on the roads during a Month of Action this June in support of the joint TISPOL and National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Summer Drink and Drug Driving Campaign. As part of the campaign, the team will be conducting roadside checks, testing any drivers suspected of drink or drug-driving and targeting known drink-drivers.
All drivers involved in collisions are being breath tested and motor patrols officers are carrying out additional routine breath tests alongside their normal observations of motorists.
The campaign is the first since changes in legislation were introduced in March and April to help police clamp down on those putting lives at risk when they take to the road under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: “Northumbria Police is fully supportive of the joint NPCC and TISPOL campaign and remains more committed than ever to making our roads safer. We don’t want to stop people enjoying their summer, but the message of this campaign is very clear – if you are having a drink then don’t drive.
“So many families are left ruined because of drink-driving and we will do everything we can to reduce the number of families left grieving lost loved ones.
“We would urge motorists to plan ahead and if they know they’re going to be having a drink they should make arrangements to get home in advance. People should book a taxi or nominate a designated driver and avoid the temptation of getting behind the wheel while under the influence.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has recently backed calls for the legal drink-drive limit to be reduced in England and Wales to bring it in line with Scotland. She said: “Let’s be absolutely clear, drink and drug driving ruins people’s lives.
“Those people who decide to get behind the wheel of a car drunk or under the influence of drugs or other substances aren’t only risking their life, but the lives of those innocent people who could through no fault of their own end up being seriously injured or killed.
“I, of course, back this national campaign and have asked that our officers continue to tackle this problem not only just at peak times, but all year round.”
Motor Patrols Chief Inspector John Heckels said: “Northumbria Police will not tolerate drink-driving and the Operation Dragoon team are committed to put a stop to it. From the beginning of this month, any motorist suspected to be driving under the influence by a police officer could be required to provide a specimen of breath or take a drug test.
“We know the vast majority of drivers are sensible, but we will target those who decide to chance it and take a risk. Anyone found in charge of a motor vehicle and over the limit will be arrested.
“The new legislation in place means offending drivers are more likely than ever before to be caught by police and all Northumbria Police officers have been trained and briefed to take full advantage of this new power and get drug drivers and drink drivers off the roads.”