Warwickshire Police supports national campaign to target those driving under the influence of drink or drugs over the festive period
Warwickshire Police is supporting the National Police Chiefs Council campaign to target those driving under the influence of drink or drugs over the festive period to improve the safety of our roads for everyone. Officers are also asking drivers to help support our NHS by not being tempted to drive under the influence of drink or drugs because it is clear this puts lives at risk. Over the two year period 2018 and 2019, drink was cited as a causation factor in 98 collisions, resulting in two people losing their lives and many more suffering serious injuries. The national statistics are even more stark with recent DfT figures showing that in 2018 an estimated 8,680 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink drive limit.
To put the risk into perspective, if you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road collision than a driver who hasn’t been drinking. Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. There is no fool proof way of drinking and staying under the limit or of knowing how much an individual person can drink and still drive safely, so the best advice is – don’t drink if you are going to drive. Whilst our collision statistics for alcohol have remained constant despite lockdown it would appear that drug driving is increasing in Warwickshire reflecting the national picture. For 2019 there were 19 road traffic collisions where illegal or medicinal drugs, were cited as a causation factor and 2 fatalities. This is compared to 2018 when drugs were a causation factor in 10 road traffic collisions and 2 fatalities. This is a 100% increase in the number of collisions. The number of arrests for drug driving has also increased. Between April and September 2020, 68 drivers were arrested for drug driving compared to the same period in 2019 when 59 people were arrested.
Taking drugs will also impair driving skills. Driving whilst under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect driving in numerous ways. Drug drivers can suffer from slower reaction times, erratic and aggressive behaviour, an inability to concentrate properly, nausea, hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, tremors or ‘the shakes’, dizziness and fatigue. Research by Essex Police links drug driving to criminality with around half of those arrested having links to a criminal lifestyle including violent crime and drug offences and detecting drug drivers provides an opportunity to potentially disrupt other criminal activity.
Warwickshire Police is also warning motorists who drink or drug drive, that the chances of being caught are high. Inspector Jem Mountford said “With COVID-19, the campaign is even more important this year and all front line officers including Patrol, SNT, Vehicle Crime Teams and OPU will be using police powers to stop and test drivers for drink and drug driving. As well as detecting offenders, officers will be using the opportunity to help educate the public of the dangers of drink and drug driving. “We will be looking for people at all times of the day and night. Just because you haven’t been out at the pub – drinking at home can still leave you over the limit the next morning and we will certainly be checking drivers then too.” It is hoped that the high visibility policing activity will help increase public reassurance and confidence.
Warwickshire Police will be publicising arrests made during December and January for drink or drug driving as part of their push to change people’s behaviour and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads. Officers are also asking the public to provide intelligence about anyone they believe may be drink or drug driving in Warwickshire to police by dialling 101. Reports can also be made anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Follow us on Facebook @WarwickshirePolice and Twitter @WarksPolice @OPUWarks or visit the news section of our website for arrest details. We will also be using the hashtags #MoreDrugsThanDrink #Dontdrinkdrive