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Christmas drink and drug driving campaign launched

Op Tonic

Now Christmas is here Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner and Avon and Somerset Police are reminding everyone about the dangers and consequences of drink and drug driving.

Tuesday December 1 sees the launch of Operation Tonic, a month-long force-wide annual campaign to make the roads safer for all.

Operation Tonic will run throughout December and into the New Year, aiming to help reduce deaths, serious injuries and crime on the roads by tackling drink and drug driving.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Over the festive period, many of us will be having fun, hosting gatherings and socialising with family and friends. Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is not only a crime, it is socially and morally unacceptable and can have devastating consequences. 

“The police are committed to keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safe for all that use them. I believe the majority of law-abiding people support the police in doing all we can to bring offenders to justice, keeping the roads safe not only this Christmas but all year round."

Helping spread the message this year is Somerset road safety campaigner Jane Hofmeister, whose daughter Amy was killed by a speeding drink-driver four years ago.

Jane’s Think Amy charity http://www.thinkamy.co.uk/ aims to educate all motorists, particularly young and new drivers, about their responsibilities to all road users.

As the Police did over Christmas last year, and in the summer, they will be will bepublicly naming every motorist who is charged with a drink or drug driving offence.

And with the summer campaign, traffic officers will be using "drugalyser" devices at the roadside to test drivers for suspected drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, using new laws that came in earlier this year.

Drug drivers could face an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, a minimum one-year driving ban and a criminal record. Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

Other police activity during the month will include vehicle stop-checks, targeted patrols and awareness-raising at events and in pubs and bars.

The Police would also urge anyone who has concerns about someone they believe may be drink or drug driving to call us on 101 or text the word drunk with as many details as they can to 81819.

In the last Operation Tonic campaign in June, Police breath-tested 974 drivers compared with 472 in 2014 and charged 78 drivers compared with 97 and 17 roadside drug tests were conducted with the new test equipment.

Road Safety Chief Inspector Yannis Georgiou said: “We are determined to do whatever we can to stop people driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. If just one collision or death is prevented, then our campaign will be a success.

“The message is clearer than ever - there is no excuse and we will arrest any drivers who are suspected to be driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.”

Posted on Tuesday 1st December 2015
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