A month-long police operation targeting those who risk their own lives and the lives of others by driving under the influence, has begun.
The all Wales Christmas Anti Drink and Drug Drive Campaign, which launched on December 1st, will see officers across the country use intelligence-led tactics and local knowledge of hotspots to detect people who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the festive period.
North Wales Police will lead the all Wales campaign and will be using social media to drive home the message the impact of drink and drug driving.
For the first time officers from the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit have given their own accounts of what it is like to deal with the aftermath of a collision involving a drink or drug driver and these will be used via social media every day throughout the campaign using the hashtags #ChooseWisely and #Fatal5.
Superintendent Jane Banham from North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said: “Once again our campaign will be heavily focussed around preventing drink or drug driving to stop those who are risking their lives and the lives of innocent road users.
“Officers from the Roads Policing Unit, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Special Constabulary will be working and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs should know that we will be out and about waiting for them -please don’t think the rural nature of the region affords you protection because it doesn’t.
“Anyone caught faces a minimum 12-18 month ban and I would urge people to take a moment and think seriously about how that would affect your life; driving to work or college, childcare arrangements or school runs, socialising and visiting family. The impact of losing your licence is enormous. Worst still, you could injure or kill yourself or someone else. Drink driving isn’t worth the risk.”
“All four Welsh forces are fully committed to help make the roads safer for all and will continue to target those who endanger their own lives and the lives of others. Don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs – even a very small amount of drugs or alcohol can affect your ability to drive safelyDon’t let your friends and family pay the price.”
Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said: “Every time anyone gets behind the wheel having had a drink, even one, the chances of an accident increase.
“The coming weeks will see people from across Wales celebrate Christmas and I’d like to reiterate how imperative it is that everything possible is done to keep us all safe on our roads.
“Whilst I’d like to thank our heroic Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance service who so often have to deal first hand with the preventable consequences of drink driving, I hope to see the Welsh public planning ahead and acting responsibly this Christmas to ensure that they do not put themselves, and others, in unnecessary danger.”
During the 2016 campaign North Wales Police administered 9,448 breath tests of which 95 were positive, failed or refused and there were 60 drug drive arrests.
So far this year (1st January up to 20th November) North Wales Police have made 782 drink drive arrests and 526 drug drive arrests.
Supt Banham added: “Officers are on heightened alert all year round but especially at this time of year – they will spot you, they will catch you and you will face the consequences. Drivers need to be aware that regardless of the time of day they are caught, whether they are going to work or taking children to school, they will face the same penalties as someone who has chosen to drink heavily in a pub and driven at night.”
If you suspect someone is driving while unfit to do so, please report it immediately to police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or phone it through anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.