Police chief issues drink driving warning before Christmas

Sgt. Mike Olding with breath test.

Sgt. Mike Olding with breath test. - Credit: Archant

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has promised to crack down on Christmas drink drivers as research shows almost 12 million people are drinking more while in lockdown.

Independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware's recent study estimates 11.7 million people in the UK have admitted to consuming more alcohol than usual during the coronavirus pandemic.

Police chiefs in the district fear that this, coupled with the number of vehicles back on the road increasing in the lead up to Christmas, may pose a serious risk to public safety.

Chief inspector, Jason Shears said: “We understand this year has been incredibly difficult for most of us and we want people to celebrate Christmas and enjoy themselves.

"However, with drinking on the increase, we need drivers to be aware that there is absolutely no excuse for getting behind the wheel whilst intoxicated."

Drinkaware's data uncovered that 38 per cent of people on furlough are drinking more as well as and a third of parents with at least one child under 18.

Chief Insp Shears confirmed the Christmas period will be business as usual for the police.

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He said: "We want to reassure the public that we will be on patrol, responding to reports and helping to ensure that those who put others’ lives in danger are taken off the roads.”

Last year 130 people were charged by the police with driving or being in charge of a vehicle when under the influence of drink or drugs. The penalties for the offences vary in severity.

"The chances of being caught, losing your licence and spending time over Christmas in one of our cells is high. 

"This will be followed by a criminal record and the potential for up to six months’ imprisonment. 

“Anyone who causes a death while drink or drug driving faces up to 14 years imprisonment."

If you are aware of someone who is driving under the influence of either drink or drugs contact 999 or report it on by logging on to www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report/drink-and-drug-driving 

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