Christmas drink drive campaign launched in Suffolk

“Deciding to drink and drive could cost you dearly this Christmas.”

That’s the message from Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies as both forces prepare to launch their Christmas campaigns.

The month-long operation against driving under the influence of drink or drugs will see officers in both counties carrying out extra patrols and roadside checks. Any driver who is stopped due to concerns over the manner of their driving, a vehicle defect or is involved in a collision will be breathalysed.

Specific time slots at Norwich and Ipswich Magistrates Courts have been reserved to deal with those caught drink or drug driving. This effectively means that offenders could now lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines.

Throughout the campaign roads policing officers will be using social media to share messages and provide updates on campaign results using @NSRoadsPolicing and via Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies Facebook pages.

During last year’s campaign 2,649 drivers were tested with 224 drivers providing positive readings in total for both counties. In Norfolk 1,320 tests were carried out with 82 drivers failing, while in Suffolk 1,329 tests were carried out with 142 drivers failing the test.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “Anyone caught faces a minimum 12-18 month ban, however, deciding to drink and drive could cost you more than just your licence. Think seriously about how having no licence could affect your life; would you lose your job? How would you get the kids to school? How are you going to see family or friends this year?

“Remember, it is your decision whether you drink and drive. You are responsible. You must face the consequences which could include a serious collision where you or someone else is injured or killed. Drink driving is just not worth the risk.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Let’s all hope that this year those who have chosen to ignore this message in the past take heed. I know the vast majority of drivers are responsible but sadly there are way too many, that despite the obvious dangers, are still taking to the road under the influence of drink or drugs.

“I’d like to think the message is getting through but sadly it seems far too many drivers have still not learnt the lesson – drink driving kills. I am pleased that Suffolk Constabulary continues to focus on road safety; it means that drink drivers are much more likely to get caught; prosecuted and sentenced appropriately.”

The campaign starts today (Friday, December 1) and runs until Sunday, January 1, and will see officers carrying out roadside checks throughout the day and night – including early morning checks – as well as intelligence-led enforcement activity. The public are also encouraged to report any concerns relating drink or drug driving anonymously using Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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