With pubs and clubs closed, Christmas and New Year was different for everyone last year, but that didn’t stop officers ensuring our roads were safe from drink and drug drivers.
Celebrations were different, but the risks of driving while under the influence of drink and drugs remained the same; it kills and destroys lives.
Officers stop drivers on suspicion of drink and drug driving every day but as December approaches; every force across the UK takes part in the national drink and drug driving campaign, a four-week crackdown and dedicated time to educate drivers.
During December, 764 drivers were breathalysed; of these, 75 were found to be over the drink drive limit. This equates to almost 10% of those stopped.
Roads Policing Sergeant Bruce Yacomeni explains more about the campaign, he said: “We see people taking risks and getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs at all times of the day, night and during the year.
“During December, officers across all of South Yorkshire’s communities conducted dedicated daily drink and drug drive patrols stopping vehicles and conducting road side screening tests on drivers wherever a police power existed to do so.
“Covid-19 continued to be a challenge; we followed best practice to keep drivers and officers as safe as possible through social distancing and sanitising measures.
“During the month, we also ran an online survey and received almost 5,000 positive responses from the public of South Yorkshire. We will use the results of the survey to drive enforcement activity over the next 12 months. The results show how important these stops are and how we cannot stop doing them.
“In 2019, 11% of drivers stopped in December were found to be over the limit. Last year, although slightly lower, there were still a high number of drivers who have made a conscious decision to increase their chances of causing death or serious injury on our roads.
“We will continue to conduct checks throughout the year and keep our roads and communities safe. Those who get behind the wheel after a drink or taking drugs need to ask themselves ‘Is it worth it?’”
The closure of pubs and clubs appears to have had a lesser effect on drug driving figures, as those who take drugs do so on a recreational basis, a daily problem seen by all police forces.
During the month, 60 drivers were tested for cannabis and cocaine, 47 of these tested positive. This is 78% of drivers.
Sgt Yacomeni continues: “Tackling drug driving continues to be a daily priority for our officers.
“Drivers do not realise the affect drugs can have on your response and reaction times.
“Our road side tests check for cannabis and cocaine, but it is important that even drivers using legally prescribed drugs discuss driving with their doctor before doing so.
“If you are caught, you can face a driving ban, unlimited fines, and even time in prison.”
Joanne Wehrle, manager of South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, said: “With the on-going Covid-19 health crisis, we all need to make sure we use our roads responsibly, follow Government guidelines and don’t put any added pressure on the NHS.
“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and significantly increases your chances of being involved in a collision. Think about your actions and think about the impact it could have on emergency services and NHS workers.”
For more information on drink and drug driving, please visit Safer Roads South Yorkshire Partnership’s website- https://sysrp.co.uk/drugdriving
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