POLICE in North Yorkshire have launched their annual drink and drug driving campaign, warning they are better prepared than ever to catch offenders out.
They will be out in force until January 1, breathalysing drivers around the county in a bid to reduce the number of people driving under the influence during the festive season.
North Yorkshire Police has 170 officers trained to conduct roadside field impairment tests to establish whether someone is under the influence of drugs.
And Traffic Constable Yvonne Taylor is one of just seven drug recognition experts in the country, with skills recognised by the courts to prove drug impairment has influenced someone’s ability to drive.
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, who is the current chairman of the 95 Alive Partnership between police, the fire service, the ambulance service and local councils, said: “The figures show that some people are still not heeding our repeated warnings about the dangers of driving while under the influence of drink and drugs.
“It is staggering to think that thousands of people across the country still think it is ok to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, particularly when the dangers are so well documented and the majority of law-abiding people find it socially unacceptable.
“Not only is it unacceptable, drink and drug driving ruins countless lives, the consequences are devastating for the victims and their families.
“If you are thinking about getting in your car after drinking or taking drugs, please take a second to think about all those people whose lives have been ruined by someone like you.”
During last year’s campaign, officers breathalysed more than 4,000 drivers and arrested 81 people on suspicion of drink or drug driving. This year, a fast-track court service has been set up to deal with lawbreakers as quickly as possible – even banning them from driving before Christmas.
Mr Madgwick added: “It is simply not worth taking the risk. You are more likely than ever to get caught this year and if you are, think about the impact it will have on your life.
“You will be fast tracked to court, your name will be in the paper, your boss will probably see it, you will lose your licence, how will you get to work? What if your job involves driving? How do you pay your mortgage?
“Don’t ruin your life or someone else’s life. If you are going out to celebrate the festive season get a taxi home or use public transport, if you want to have a drink then don’t drive.”
To report anyone you suspect of drink or drug driving, call North Yorkshire Police on 0845 6060247 and select option two. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.