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Crackdown on drivers with too much Christmas spirit

Cumbria Police are launching their Christmas crackdown on people who drive whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Credit: PA

To prevent a 'tragic Christmas' people are being asked to do their part for a campaign against drink driving.

Despite a national campaign every December people are still being caught having consumed an excess of alcohol or drugs whilst driving, according to police.

This year police will be steeping up their visibility around the county's pubs and speaking to landlords and their customers about the dangers of drink driving. They will also ask people to report anyone who they suspect is driving under the influence.

In December 2013, 2589 breath tests were administered which resulted in 97 people failing or refusing a test. This was more than the previous year where 85 people refused or failed the breathalyser test.

Of the 97 tests last December, 17 followed a crash. In 2012, this number was 23.

People are reminded that they can still be over the limit the morning after they've been drinking:

“One area of concern that we would like to highlight is the number of people who drive the morning after a night where they have been drinking. Many people will be attending Christmas and New Year parties during December and may have more to drink than usual. What many can underestimate is the effect that this has the following morning and some will get in a car thinking they will be fit to drive when they are in fact, still over the alcohol limit.

Our message is clear, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. It is easy to make alternative arrangements to get home. Don’t ruin your own or other people’s Christmas of by making a decision to drive whilst under the influence, it’s not worth it.”

– Sergeant Roberts, Cumbria Police

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Cumbria Police: 'You have been warned'

After nearly a hundred people failed breath tests this time last year, police say they'll be cracking down even harder this Christmas.

Last year in Cumbria we conducted almost three and a half thousand breath tests in the month of December. That is over a hundred breath testa a day in Cumbria. We'll be doing at least as much as that this year. Disappointingly out of that we were also arresting three people a day. So there is far likelihood that if you are drink driving there is a very strong likelihood that you will be arrested.

– Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow, Cumbria Police

Police issue stark warning

The 'Christmas Drink Drive' campaign has begun with Cumbria Police issuing a stark warning to drivers: don't drink alcohol before you get behind the wheel.

The national campaign takes place every December, with the aim of encouraging people not to drink and drive.

Young drivers, and men in particular, are one of the main groups being targeted by police this year, as statistics show they are the worst offenders.

Almost 3500 breath tests were carried out last year, which resulted in 96 people either failing or refusing a test, with 30% of these being under the age of 30.

Of the 96 tests in 2011 which were either failed or refused, 20 were administered to women and 76 to men.

"We dedicate resources to this campaign each year and aim to catch anyone who drives when under the influence.

"The aim is to saves lives, driving when under the influence of drink or drugs impairs your driving capability, causes accidents and can result in death.

"In the run up to Christmas, people are planning their parties, going out with colleagues, friends and families and generally enjoying themselves, we just want people to include planning how they are going to get home afterwards."

– Sergeant Joanne Walker, Roads Policing Unit, Cumbria Police