News from our partners
From time to time we will be publishing news stories on Shropshire Newsroom from our partner organisations. The following is from the Safer Roads Partnership.
Make this a summer to remember for the right reasons
The Safer Roads Partnership, West Mercia Police and Shropshire Council are teaming up to warn people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs this summer.
With the summer of celebrations fast approaching, it should be a summer to remember but for some it could be a summer to forget. With warmer weather, drink and drug drive offences typically increase, and to combat this a new campaign has been launched to remind people of the risks of mixing drinking or drug use with driving.
Enforcement of these offences over the summer will also be a key priority for West Mercia and Shropshire police. Roadside checks will be carried out at all times of the day and night and on all types of road, and drivers will be automatically tested if a collision occurs.
Over the past three years, 126 people have been killed or seriously injured in West Mercia as a result of collisions involving drink or drugs. Of particular concern is those motorists aged between 17 and 30; 45% of drivers involved in collisions causing death or serious injury involving drink or drugs were aged 17-30 and just over 80% were male.
The immediate consequences for anyone if they are caught drink or drug driving include a minimum 12 month driving ban, up to six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record. A conviction for drink or drug driving can have a major impact on the future prospects of a young person. For example, it may lead to job loss and significant problems when applying for a job in the future.
Driving after drinking or taking drugs significantly increases the chances of a person being involved in or causing a collision. The maximum penalty of being convicted of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs is 14 years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, disqualification from driving for at least 2 years and a mandatory extended driving test.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership, said:
“During the summer months people may be in situations where they are drinking more than usual, especially this year with the Jubilee celebrations and sporting events. We are aiming to highlight that the risk of being caught or being involved in a collision after drinking and driving simply isn’t worth it. Our message is simple: if you are planning to drink leave the car behind - Don’t Drink and Drive.”
Supt Lee Davenport, head of the Force Operations Department, said:
“Cracking down on those who take drugs or drink and then drive is a year round commitment for West Mercia Police. However, we are very aware the summer period can present opportunities where people are tempted to drive after taking drugs or drinking. To combat this, extra attention will be made throughout summer in a bid to tackle those who commit the unacceptable act of drinking or drug driving.
“Worryingly, and despite many warnings over the years about the dangers of drink/drug driving, there are still far too many reckless drivers ignoring the devastating consequences. Alcohol and drugs both affect your ability to judge speed and distances accurately and slow down your reaction time. If you are tempted to drive under the influence of drink or drugs this summer then spare a thought for your family, friends and other innocent road users, and think hard about what you will put them through if you cause a crash.”
Superintendent Adrian McGee, Head of Incident Resolution at Warwickshire Police, speaking about the Summer drink and drug drive campaign, said:
“During the summer people may be more tempted to stop for a drink after work, and there are more social gatherings and barbecues to enjoy. This year there will be even more opportunities to celebrate an occasion and enjoy a social drink, with the Diamond Jubilee, Euro12 and the Olympics. 2012 is a terrific year for celebration. Let’s all enjoy it, but let’s make sure we also recognise the potential impact alcohol can have on our driving. In 12 months time let us all be talking about the positive things that happened during the summer of celebration in 2012 and what a fantastic year it was, rather than talking about 2012 being the year you lost your driving licence or worse.
“No one can tell exactly how much alcohol they can drink before they pass the legal limit, therefore the best advice is not to drink at all if you are planning to drive. National research shows you are more than 30 times more likely to be involved in a collision if you are twice over the legal limit than a driver who has not had a drink. If you have had a few drinks the night before you may still be over the limit the following morning.
“Police officers will be carrying out roadside breath tests throughout the day, a positive test in the morning will still mean a 12 month ban and a possible fine. If you are planning a night out think ahead and book a taxi to get home or arrange in advance for someone to be the designated driver who only drinks soft drinks and can then drive everyone home.”
The campaign coincides with the launch of the summer drink drive campaign by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).