Derbyshire police's annual Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers begins today (December 1).
The annual Christmas campaign is aimed at keeping roads across Derbyshire safe by raising awareness of the potentially devastating effects of drink- or drug-driving.
Roads policing officers will be patrolling the county on the lookout for drivers who break the law, and will be stopping and breathalysing any they suspect of being under the influence.
They will also be equipped with specialist kit that allows them to instantly test for the presence of drugs in a driver’s system, with just a small sample of saliva.
Last year, a total of 388 drivers were breath tested, with 45 being over the limit, refusing to take a test or failing to provide a sample.
All 45 will have been fined, hit with driving bans, or faced further action in court.
As part of the campaign, police are encouraging people to ring in with information about suspected drink- or drug-drivers.
People can also claim rewards of up to £1,000 if they report a suspect driver to Crimestoppers anonymously, providing that their information leads to a conviction.
Chief Inspector Andy Palmer, head of roads policing, said: “Around Christmas and New Year, there is an increase in the number of parties and social events across the county.
“We want people to be able to go out and celebrate safe in the knowledge that they won’t be put in danger by a drink driver or a drug driver.
“The adverse effects of being over the limit and getting behind the wheel can be catastrophic and even having one drink can lead to a serious, even fatal collision.
“If you have a drink and get behind the wheel, you may lose your job, your licence, or your life. The consequences do not bear thinking about and although at the time, it may seem like a good idea to drink alcohol and then drive, the stark reality is that the risk simply is not worth it.”
In the 2015 Christmas crackdown, officers also tested 23 drivers for drugs, with ten testing positive for having controlled drugs in their system. All ten were arrested.
Chief Inspector Palmer said: “Those who use illegal drugs are not only committing an offence by taking them, but if they then get behind the wheel they’re breaking the law twice.
“Some prescription drugs can also put you over the legal limit, and anyone who is stopped and found to have excess levels of alcohol or drugs in their system will be prosecuted.
“So our message is very simple – if you do have a drink or you take drugs, don’t get behind the wheel.”
Derbyshire Constabulary’s roads policing unit will be tweeting throughout December to give followers information on the offences they deal with, including drink and drug drivers.
The team can be found on Twitter at @DerbyshireRPU.
To report a drink- or drug-driver to Derbyshire police, call 101 if it is not an emergency, or 999 if it is.
To make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers, call 0800 555 111.