Shop Christmas drink drivers, say police

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PARTYGOERS are being urged to shop their fellow revellers if they get into a car after a night out and drink drive.

Crimestoppers have offered a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest of a drink driver in this latest campaign, which coincides with Christmas and is aimed at saving lives.

The national campaign led by The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is also targeting morning-after drivers in their initiative — those people who get into their cars after a night out drinking and may not realise that they are still a risk.

“There are some drivers who think they are obeying the law but are in fact breaking it by getting into their cars the morning after a night of drinking,” said an ACPO spokesman said:

“People may be surprised to hear that last year between the hours of 6am and 11am more than 400 people failed breath tests (or refused to provide a specimen), which is more than those caught for the hour before or after midnight.

“Drivers need to be aware that regardless of the time of day they are caught, whether they are going to work or taking children to school, they will face the same penalties as someone who has chosen to drink heavily in a pub and driven at night.”

The legal drink drive limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

But Chief Inspector Andy Charlton said the only way to be certain you pass a breathalyser test is not to drink at all.

“The message is clear — the only safe number of alcoholic drinks you can consume before driving is zero,” explained Chief Insp Charlton.

“If you’ve been drinking you should not be getting behind the wheel.”

As part of the campaign, officers will be carrying out roadside breath tests across the county during Christmas and the New Year.

Last year 11,895 motorists in Nottinghamshire were breath tested with 1,242 people blowing positive for alcohol or refusing to take a test.

In December alone 1,833 tests were carried out on the county’s roads with 123 being recorded as positive.

There were also 410 alcohol related collisions in 2011 with drink being a factor in 7.3 per cent of all collisions.

Between January and the end of October this year, there were 321 alcohol-related collisions which accounts for 7 per cent of all crashes.

Despite these recent warnings, in the first week of the campaign, 29 people were arrested across the county as part of the festive crackdown.

“We have arrested a relatively high number of people in the first week of the campaign,” added Chief Insp Charlton. “The scale of this issue is even greater than we thought.

“It seems motorists are still prepared to risk driving after drinking and the scourge of drink driving has not gone away.

“We are determined to catch those who put themselves and other road users at risk but don’t wait for us to pull you over.

“Make the decision not to start the New Year with a criminal conviction, or worse, a guilty conscience because your selfish actions have hurt others.”

To report a drink driver contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.