POLICE in Staffordshire are warning drivers to leave their cars at home when enjoying a drink over the coming summer months.
The force is taking part in the national two-week summer drink-drive campaign which began on 14 June, which will see officers taking part in educational and enforcement action by carrying out random roadside checks on drivers they suspect may be driving under the influence of drinks or drugs.
Police aim to raise awareness of the dangers of driving whilst intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, which is one of the four main causes of fatal collisions on UK roads.
Inspector Matt Derrick from the force’s tactical support team, said: “We want to get across to drivers the message that alcohol or drugs and driving don’t mix.
“Despite the recent weather, summer for many people is associated with being outdoors enjoying the longer days and having a drink in a beer garden or at a barbeque with friends. With that in mind, we are people to think before they drink and drive this summer.”
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Insp Derrick added: “Alcohol makes people’s reactions slower and makes processing information more difficult and when driving, this can impact on reactions and decision making, which puts both drivers and other road users at risk.
“There is no fool-proof way of drinking and staying under the drink-drive limit. The amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be considered over the driving limit varies from person to person, depending on weight, age, sex and metabolism.
“Even small amounts of alcohol or drugs can affect your ability to drive so the only safe advice is to avoid any alcohol if you are driving.”
The operation is part of Staffordshire Police’s new roads policing plan, Operation Lightning, which aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Staffordshire, as well as disrupting and deterring criminals’ use of the road network.
Police can stop and test any driver they suspect of drink-drive or being on drugs, and may also test if a driver is stopped for another offence, or if they are involved in a collision. Between January 2017 and May 2019, nearly 3,500 drivers were arrested for drink/drug driving.
Of those 2,435 provided a positive breath test, 719 were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs and 278 for driving under the influence of a controlled drug.
Officers will also be looking out for early morning motorists who may still be under the influence from the night before.
It is a minimum 12-month driving ban if you are caught, a criminal record, a substantial fine and the possibility of a prison record.