Northamptonshire Police launch drink and drug driving campaign


As Northamptonshire Police launches its annual drink and drug driving campaign, the message remains the same to anyone tempted to get behind the wheel under the influence – this is the worst lottery you will ever enter.

The Force is part in a widespread month-long crackdown to target those who choose to drink or take drugs and drive in a bid to keep our communities safer over the festive period.

Officers carry out breath tests throughout the year, however with more people out celebrating the festivities with friends and family, risk increases, therefore patrols, proactive drink/drug operations, and roadside checks increase.

Activities will be held at different times, including early morning operations, when people may be driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs the previous night and may not realise that they are still over the limit and their driving impaired.

Research has found that even when someone is only just over the legal limit, they are still six times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than someone who has drunk nothing.

Last December, 47 motorists were charged with driving while over the alcohol limit and 16 were arrested for failing a roadside drug test, pending the results of blood tests. This was compared to 67 and 17 respectively for the same period in 2019.

Many people are getting better at being more responsible on our roads, but one knock on the door is still one too many for the family who’s loved one has been killed or seriously injured in a collision.

Chair of the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, Superintendent Jen Helm, said: “Working alongside our Alliance partners, our focus continues to be to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

“Last year was incredibly difficult for everyone because of the Covid-19 restrictions in place, and so we all want to enjoy this year’s festivities with family and friends – possibly even more than in other years.

“It is not our intention to stop people from having fun, our intention is to try and ensure no one gets that terrible knock on the door to tell them someone they love is not coming home.

“While most of us know how dangerous it is to take the risk of driving under the influence and though we share this message every year, I guarantee there’ll be some who still choose to ignore it. Please don’t be one of these drivers.

“Drink or drug driving is selfish and reckless but so easy to justify for some. They may think it’s just a few extra drinks, but at what price? Most people thankfully have no concept of how appalling the consequences are for the victims, families and the driver themselves – but be assured they are horrendous, they don’t stop, there is no reset button.”

As part of the campaign, drivers charged with drink or drug driving will once again be publicly named on the Northamptonshire Police website and social media.

Officers from across the Force will be stopping anyone suspected of drink or drug driving during the campaign, and anyone found to be over the limit will face the full force of the law.

PC Dave Lee from Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team said: “The risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on the night when you have been drinking, but also the morning after, could be fatal.

“It only takes one second to have a collision which can change your life or the life of an innocent bystander and their family. How would you feel knowing that your actions caused a collision and brought devastation to an entire family?

“It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit as the way alcohol affects you depends on a number of factors including weight, age, sex and metabolism.

“If you are out and know you will be drinking, make sure you have plans for getting home safely without driving. If you do have to drive, our advice is to avoid alcohol completely. The only safe limit is none.

“We don’t take the decision to continue to name all drivers charged with drink or drug driving lightly, however anyone who doesn’t want to be included on this list the message is simple – do not drink or drug drive.”

Drivers who cause a death while driving under the influence of drink or drugs faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment. If they’re fortunate not to be involved in a collision, if caught, they risk up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban.

However, The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink or drug drive conviction could cost up to £70,000 because of fines, solicitors fees, increase in the cost of car insurance and losing a job.

To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or dial 101. In an emergency, call 999.