As we prepare for the party season, the annual THINK! Drink Drive campaign - now in its 30th year - will swing into action to warn motorists about the dangers of getting behind the wheel after even just one drink.
Despite research showing that drink driving is less socially acceptable since the start of drink drive campaigns in 1976, it still occurs across all age groups and is particularly prevalent amongst young men - 36% of male breath test failures in 2005 were aged 17-29 years.
And last year’s campaign revealed a stubborn resistance among drivers to head the safety warnings. For example more than one in 10 drivers stopped and breathalysed in London over the festive period in 2005 were arrested. Police administered 11,430 breath tests and 1,471 drivers were arrested for failing or refusing to take the test.
This year the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and Department for Transport (DfT) are combining their campaigns to remind potential drink drivers, and young men in particular, just how seriously this issue is taken. More people are stopped and breathalysed at Christmas than any other time in the year and the penalties that drivers could face are among the toughest in Europe.
Chief Constable of South Yorkshire and ACPO Lead, Meredydd Hughes said: ‘We will be cracking down hard on all those people driving under the influence of drink or drugs. December is one of the highest months for both fatalities and collisions involving drunk drivers, while the number of deaths caused by drivers with illegal levels of alcohol has risen over the past few years. This is unacceptable and the police will not tolerate it. Drivers are well aware of the risks of driving over the legal limit, and if they don't know the legal limit, they shouldn't have a drink at all.
‘Police will also be targeting drivers whose driving is impaired by the use of drugs, numbers of whom are increasing, particularly amongst young people.’
Throughout the campaign, police officers across England and Wales will be breath testing all drivers involved in collisions, irrespective of whether they suspect an offence of drink driving or not. If drink is detected, the driver will be arrested.’
About 17% of all fatal crashes nationally can be attributed to alcohol.