Dorset Police is warning motorists of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as the summer drink and drug drive campaign gets underway.
This year’s annual campaign runs from 1 June until 30 June.
As in previous campaigns, the Dorset Police is joining forces with the media to highlight the dangers of drink and drug driving and the risks associated with it.
Anyone charged with a drink or drug driving-related offence during the campaign will have their name and court appearance details released to the media. Custody images of those convicted could also be issued.
Throughout the campaign there will be an increase in traffic patrols and roadside checks.
Every driver involved in a collision throughout June will be breath tested irrespective of whether they are suspect of drink driving.
A series of new laws have been introduced this year to target motorists driving under the influence of drink and drugs.
On Monday 2 March, the drug driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers. A total of 16 legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law; including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. The limits for all illegal drugs are extremely low so taking even a small amount could put drivers over the limit. The test for this is a simple wipe which is carried by officers on the roadside or at the station.
New legislation introduced in April states that drink drivers are no longer entitled to request a blood or urine sample when their specimen of breath is less than 51mg per 100ml. This law is designed to close the loophole which previously allowed a person to potentially sober up while they waited for a blood or urine sample to be taken.
Inspector Matt Butler, of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “This summer will be the first campaign with new drug-testing kits in place to detect cannabis and cocaine as well as standard kits for alcohol testing. This means we are better equipped than ever to detect those who risk taking drugs or drinking and getting behind the wheel.
“We all look forward to the summer months but there is simply no excuse to getting behind the wheel or on your bike when you have been drinking or taking drugs. Our officers will be out there targeting those people suspected of being under the influence.
“Combining illegal drugs with alcohol is especially deadly with research finding that drivers who have consumed both are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than sober drivers.
“Too many people have lost their lives because of such reckless actions. It is just not worth the risk.”
If someone is caught drink driving they will face a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.
Inspector Butler is urging people to call the police on 101, or 999 immediately, if they suspect someone is drunk or drug driving. Calls can also be made to the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555111.
The 2014 summer campaign in Dorset saw a total of 87 people aged between 18 and 67 charged with a drink or drug driving-related offence. Of these, 64 were men and 23 were women. The campaign was extended into July to include the FIFA World Cup.
Members of the public can follow the progress of the drink drive campaign, including the number of people charged, on Twitter @dorsetpolice and facebook.com/dorsetpolice.