Young drivers get warning on drink

CLAMPDOWN ... police will be watching out for summer drink-drivers.
CLAMPDOWN ... police will be watching out for summer drink-drivers.
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CHECKPOINT tests will be carried out by police in this year’s drink and drug driving crackdown.

And a senior officer launching the annual blitz today warned the consequences of getting behind the wheel while under the influence can be “catastrophic”.

The campaign will see officers carrying out tests across the Fylde coast throughout June. This year their focus is on drivers aged under 25.

Supt Peter O’Dwyer, from Lancashire Police, said: “There remains some people who think they can get away with drink or drug driving.

“More than one third of these are under 25 so we really want to get the message across to our young drivers.

“We want people to have fun this summer and enjoy the warmer weather but to remember the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“If people are drinking heavily the night before they shouldn’t be driving again until many hours have elapsed – having a coffee and a cold shower isn’t going to work.

“It’s not a risk worth taking. The consequences of drink driving can be catastrophic – a conviction could mean that you lose your job, home, family and friends.

“Not only that but it could cause a fatal accident which is devastating for the victim’s family and the offender who will end up behind bars.”

Daily checkpoints at different sites across the Fylde coast will start today.

Officers could breathalyse drivers, ask them to take an observation test at the side of the road or take them to the police station for a blood test.

In 2010 there were 46 fatal collisions in Lancashire and eight of these involved drink or drugs.

County Coun Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “A great deal of effort has gone into reducing the numbers of people being killed and seriously injured on our roads through safety engineering works, driver training and education.

“But individuals also have to take responsibility, and decide for themselves that the risk of drinking and driving is one that’s simply not worth taking.”

The number of people caught drink and drug driving continues to fall in Lancashire, with two per cent of 10,006 people tested over last year’s Christmas campaign failing or refusing a test.

Of the 9,000 people tested throughout June last year, 220 people, or 2.4 per cent, failed the test or refused to provide a sample.

Now officers say they want to see the figure decrease even further.

Supt O’Dwyer added: “Even though we have tested more drivers, the number of people caught drink driving has fallen for the fourth year running – but one person drink driving is too many and we are committed to reducing this further.

“Our message is simple – do not drink and drive and do not take drugs and drive.”

To report someone who you suspect of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact the police on 0845 1 25 35 45.