Motorists are being asked to substitute their car for a taxi or lift home to avoid facing a red card as part of the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership’s annual Christmas anti drink and drug driving campaign.
The campaign launched on Thursday 1 December and will run until Sunday 1 January to ensure that motorists are enjoying the Festive Period and 2022 FIFA World Cup while driving in a safe and legal way.
With England still competing in the World Cup, the campaign has an emphasis on ensuring people are enjoying matches while being aware of the penalties that could be faced if found to be driving home after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs.
The multi-partnership campaign is co-ordinated by Gloucestershire Constabulary, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. It aims to educate drivers of the dangers and penalties they could face by getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs.
Drivers who combine alcohol and drugs are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers with motorists being asked to consider if they are mate enough to let a friend drink drive? Research shows that a lot of drink drivers have the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality when choosing to drink or drug drive.
Motorists can expect to see more roadside police checks in both urban and rural areas across the county when the festive clamp-down begins.
Enforcement action will also see the Special Constabulary conducting a number of proactive operations throughout the county and roads policing officers making targeted patrols.
Inspector Rachel Lynch-Warden from the Roads Policing Unit said: “We want to ensure that motorists and members of the public are aware of the dangers and consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
“This year’s campaign is slightly different to those of previous years and has a focus on those following the World Cup as more people may decide to visit the county’s pubs, bars and clubs before taking the risk of driving home.
“Attending Christmas festivities and watching the World Cup should be fun and enjoyable moments for all but things could end so badly if you drink or drug drive and are involved in a collision. This is why there will be an increased police presence on the roads of Gloucestershire over the coming weeks.
“The force has recently purchased an additional 20 breathalyser test kits to improve our roadside testing capability, helping to make our roads even safer for our communities.”
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson said: “As everyone looks forward to the holiday season, all road users must recognise the need to behave responsibly whenever they get behind a wheel. And if you’re a passenger, you also have a responsibility to call-out inappropriate behaviour.
“A great deal of work has gone into making drink driving socially unacceptable. Road users need to understand driving under the influence of drugs is equally unsafe and intolerable. Those who flout the law are not only putting themselves at risk but others too.”
Cllr Dave Norman, Chair of the Road Safety Partnership from Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Christmas is a time when many people are out enjoying themselves which is wonderful and there’s even more to enjoy with the World Cup. But we must make sure we all enjoy this festive season safely and don’t endanger ourselves and others.”