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Drink OR drive this Christmas – you can’t do both

11 December 2019
Dorset Police officers will be out and about in the run up to Christmas and New Year enforcing against anyone who is selfish or foolish enough to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

Drivers will be breath tested if police think their driving has been impaired by consuming alcohol or drugs, if they have committed a moving traffic offence, or if they have been involved in a road traffic collision.

It won’t just be Dorset Traffic Police and the No Excuse team. Response officers and neighbourhood teams have the same powers and will be running localised operations too. The No Excuse team is already visiting pubs and clubs during the day and evenings with advice about staying safe on the roads this Christmas. The locations of these visits with subsequent enforcement activity won’t be announced in advance, but you could find out the hard way if you’ve been drinking as you could meet them on the road later.

Dorset Police reminds drivers that in Dorset cases where drivers plead guilty to drink driving they could be disqualified from driving within seven days of being charged with the offence. They could be off the road in time for Christmas.

Inspector Joe Pardey, Alliance Roads Policing, said: “Drink driving continues to be an issue during the festive season where the temptation to drink and drive is likely to be higher than at other times of the year. We are determined to take dangerous drivers off the road. Drink driving is a significant contributory factor in fatal and serious injury collisions and those who kill or seriously injure others whilst drink driving will find themselves sent to prison.”

Drivers should also remember that they could still be under the influence of alcohol the next morning after drinking. Only time eliminates alcohol from your system, not sleep, coffee, a shower or breakfast. It talks one hour per unit consumed plus an extra hour from your last drink for alcohol to leave the system and before you should even contemplate driving.

Neither do you have to be drunk to be drink driver. The “legal limit” set by the breath test is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, but even if you blow under this at the roadside, if officers think your driving is impaired through alcohol you can still be arrested, charged and prosecuted.

Last December in Dorset there were 94 positive, refused or failed breath tests. 8 of those were the morning after between 5am and noon. 62 were aged 18 -34 and 32 were 35 or older.

Drivers can also be tested at the roadside for the presence of cannabis or cocaine using a simple mouth swab device.

Being prosecuted for drink or drug driving brings with it all the attendant shame and inconvenience, including putting your job and livelihood in jeopardy. Worse, you could kill or seriously injure yourself or another road user.

Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “It is unbelievable that there are still people out there who think it’s OK to get behind the wheel after they’ve had a lot to drink. “We’re sending out a very clear message – don’t do it. You will be up before the magistrates within a week, lose your licence by Christmas and possibly your job and your home in the New Year.”

The simple message from Dorset Police this holiday season is that even with all the temptation to drink, one for the road is unacceptable. The only way to keep yourself and other road users safe is none for the road.
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