Police step up drink drive enforcement over festive period

Traffic Unit to lead seasonal THINK campaign

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Tuesday 6th December 2005 marked the start of the Metropolitan Police Service anti drink drive campaign led by the Traffic Unit. The campaign will run throughout December and use both enforcement and education to catch offenders and raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence of drink and drugs.

Increased numbers of dedicated drink drive Traffic patrols will operate across the capital in areas where drink drive related collisions are higher or there is a known traffic issue such as speeding. The patrols will take place throughout the night to address and support the extended licensing legislation. Early morning patrols will be on the look out for those still over the limit from the night before.

Enforcement will also involve static vehicle checks where Traffic Officers will slow the traffic flow to a crawl and individual vehicles will be selected and stopped by the side of the road for vehicle and driver checks. The driver will be given drink and drug drive advice and if alcohol or offences are suspected, the driver will be breath tested.

Throughout the campaign of enforcement, Traffic Officers will be continuing to use their new powers and skills in drug drive testing, known as Field Impairment Testing (FIT). Since training began in May 2005, over 200 Traffic Officers have been trained in the ability to detect impairment through the use of drugs, and under new legislation, drivers can be arrested for refusing to take the tests.

Chief Superintendent Charles Griggs of the Traffic Operational Command Unit said "Although many people know the moral and legal issues around drinking and driving, we still see people driving dangerously due to the effects of alcohol. Although many people enjoy a drink over the festive period, we strongly encourage people not to drink at all when they are driving home after a celebration. Take a cab or designate a driver who sticks to soft drinks.

Alcohol can stay in your system for some time and so be aware when you drive the next morning as you can still be over the limit. Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as drink driving and carries the same penalties. Prescription medicines such as flu and hay fever remedies can also impair your driving which can lead to your arrest."

In 2003, the DfT recorded 1,300 alcohol related collisions in London, in which 40 people were killed. In the same year Police made 18,502 drink drive arrests including those unfit to take the test, those who refused the test and those whose tests were positive.

Chief Superintendent Griggs added "We will not tolerate drink or drug driving at any time of the year, with increased dedicated patrols at key times over the festive period, and our specialist skills in drug testing, drink or drug drivers will be caught. Working alongside our partners such as DfT, will ensure a strong and vital message is delivered. Be a safe and responsible driver and don't spend your Christmas at a police station or in a hospital bed."


December 6, 2005