Officers from South Yorkshire Police’s Operational Support Unit and South Yorkshire’s Safer Roads Partnership are sending a stern message to drivers as they crack down on drink and drug drivers over the next two weeks.
Officers have launched the ‘SYP summer drink and drug driving’ campaign following recent feedback from a public survey, in which people expressed a wanting for officers to tackle the problem.
The campaign aims to target irresponsible and dangerous drivers in a bid to drive down fatal and serious road traffic collisions, protect other road users from the harm caused by those who drink and or drug drive and raise public awareness of the consequences for these offences.
Last year saw the highest failure rate of breath tests nationally since 2012 with more than 10 per cent of motorists breathalysed failing. In addition, more than 56 per cent of motorists tested for drug driving offences also failed.
2018’s weeks of action saw South Yorkshire Police stop and breathalyse 955 drivers, of which 108 failed.
Sergeant Matthew Duffy explains the risk associated with drink and drug driving.
He said: “We are committed to operations like these as they are vitally important to raise awareness of the dangers of drink and drug driving.
“Every year we see a high amount of people still blow over the limit for alcohol and test positive for drugs. We want to ensure people understand that single decision to get into your car after a drink or taking drugs can have life-changing consequences and in some cases resulting in loss of life.”
Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink can result in six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a driving ban for at least a year. The same applies to those who refuse to provide a breath test specimen.
If you cause a death by dangerous driving while under the influence of drink you can be facing up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and a ban from driving, as well as having to sit an extended driving test before you licence is returned.
The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership is also supporting SYP’s work and will be holding engagement stalls to raise awareness about the dangers of drink or drug driving.
The team will be at Asda in Barnsley tomorrow, Tuesday, 18 June.
SY Safer Roads manager Joanne Wehrle said: “Our message is that there is no safe limit of alcohol. Even a small amount can affect your perception and reaction times.
“If you’ve had a drink, don’t drive. If you need to drive, don’t drink.
“If you kill or seriously injure someone because you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol you will have to live with the long-term consequences.”
Drink and drug driving forms part of SYSRP’s ‘fatal four’ campaign that highlights the four main contributory factors involved in fatal collisions.
Along with speeding, using a mobile and not wearing a seatbelt, the ‘fatal four’ forms part of the workshops and training sessions delivered by SYSRP in a bid to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on South Yorkshire roads.
“At this time of year, people generally are heading out more in an evening and enjoying things like summer sporting competitions,” added Joanne.
“We don’t want to spoil people’s fun but it’s vital that people plan their journey home, use a taxi, get a lift or catch a bus.
“Drink or drug driving could lead to a ban, points on your licence a fine or prison. It’s not worth the risk to your life or other people’s.”
Ask yourself, is it worth the risk?