hampshireconstabularylogoA month long campaign starts this week to prevent the destruction and distress caused by motorists who drive after drinking or taking drugs.

Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police are working together as part of the 2 forces’ Joint Operations Unit (JOU) to deter and detect behaviour behind the wheel that puts lives in danger on our roads. Officers from both forces are conducting operations at all times throughout the day and night during December across the areas of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley.

Every driver involved in a collision is to be breathalysed by Police, and officers will make extra patrols based on intelligence about suspected offenders. These policing tactics are designed to be a deterrent to any motorist thinking about driving while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs.

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Drink and drug driving is recognised by independent research as one of the ‘fatal four’ factors that results in collisions that cause people to be killed or seriously injured.

The Roads Policing Unit is now using Drug Analysers regularly so officers can carry out roadside drug tests when they have reasonable grounds to suspect a motorist may have a trace amount of an illegal drug in their body. If a trace is amount is detected, a motorist can be arrested and a blood sample taken. Those caught can lose their driver’s licence as a consequence.

Hampshire Constabulary’s road safety lead, Sergeant Rob Heard has said:

“The importance of personal responsibility for your choices must be emphasised. Think about the pain and misery you could inflict on innocent road users by a reckless decision to drive or ride after consuming alcohol or taking drugs.

“Being caught in control of any motor vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs can destroy your own life. Motorists breaking the law can face a criminal conviction, a prison sentence, driving ban, and the loss of your job.

“I ask people to remember particularly that it is not possible specifically to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. The way alcohol affects you varies depending on your personal characteristics.

“The morning after is also a crucial time for your decisions and the safety of all road users.

“After just four pints of lager, you may not be safe to drive for up to 13 hours, so whether you are drinking in the afternoon at a works Christmas party, or going out for a few drinks in the evening, make sure you are safe to drive.

“Just because you haven’t had a drink for a few hours, it doesn’t mean all the alcohol has left your system and you can drive, you are still likely to be over the limit.”

Sergeant Rob Heard added:

“Hampshire Constabulary alongside many of our partner agencies are proud supporters of Project Pictogram, which was launched across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight earlier this year.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage more employers and their staff to download and display the fatal four round symbols as part of our ongoing commitment to Project Pictogram.

“The circular white symbols with red outlines are designed to use a “nudge theory” approach; a scientific concept to influence positive safer behaviour to motorists each time they see the stickers displayed on the backs and sides of vehicles.”

Last year the number of people breath tested across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight during the Operation Holly campaign was 7,606, an increase on the 6,918 in 2014. The number of arrests across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight increased as well from 195 in 2014 to 215 in 2015.

If any member of the public suspects someone is driving while impaired by drink or drugs, they are asked to take action to report details to police by phoning 101 or texting 80999 with all the details of the vehicle, driver, location and times. In a life-threatening emergency, always dial 999.