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150-plus arrested for drink & drug driving in festive crackdown

More than 150 people have been arrested for drink or drug driving offences in West Yorkshire so far this December.

The arrests form part of the Force’s festive campaign, Not The Usual Suspects, which seeks to remind the public that anyone, regardless of their age, gender or background could be a drink driver.

Since December 1, 158 people have been arrested by the Force, with 58% of those being subsequently charged.

Of the 158 arrests, 33 of those were for drug driving offences. Three of the 33 have been charged to date with others awaiting the results of further tests.

Of those charged, 22 were from Bradford, 10 from Calderdale, 16 from Kirklees, 26 from Leeds and 17 from Wakefield.

“Three weeks in to the campaign, we have seen over 150 motorists arrested, with 33 of those for drug driving offences.

“As we head in to the Christmas weekend I would remind people to consider their travelling arrangements if they are out and about and not to drink or drug drive.

“No one wants an officer on their doorstep telling them their loved one is never coming home, especially not due to a drink or drug driver.

“Our message remains the same as before. If you are out and about this Christmas, assign a designated driver, book a taxi or use public transport to get home. Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. The results could be life changing for you, your passengers or other road users around you.

“We would much rather people didn’t get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs, however we have teams of officers policing the county to arrest those that do. The likelihood is that if you do drink or take drugs and drive this December, there is a very good chance you will be stopped by the police and action taken against you.

“I continue to urge people to consider the very real, and often devastating consequences of drink or drug driving, and for them to think again. It quite simply isn’t worth the risk.”

“We want everyone travelling on our roads this Christmas to be safe. The consequences of drink or drug driving could be devastating. Do the right thing, and don’t drink or drug drive.”

– Sgt Gary Roper, West Yorkshire Roads Policing Support Unit

Drug-driving campaign launched by South Yorks Police

Drug driving now carries the same penalties as drink driving, and to mark six months since the change in legislation, South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership have launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the consequences should you get behind the wheel of your car while under the influence of drugs.

South Yorkshire Police anti-drug driving poster Credit: South Yorkshire Police

“Almost 50-years ago, the drink drive law was introduced and drivers had to learn, understand and adhere to the law to keep themselves, as well as others, safe on the roads. “This is the aim with our campaign; we want drivers to understand the implications of driving under the influence of drugs and to raise awareness with drivers that drug driving now carries exactly the same penalties and consequences of drink driving.

“Banned for a minimum of a year, a criminal record, a fine and potentially up to six months in prison. We want to ensure people abide by the new law to make the roads in South Yorkshire safer.”

– David Crompton, South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable

On March 2, this year, the law changed regarding drug driving. Previously it was only an offence under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988, driving whilst unfit through drink or drug. It is now an offence underSection 5A Road Traffic Act 1988, driving while over the prescribed limit (OPL), as with drink driving.

There are legal and illegal drugs that are included under the new law and limits have been set by the Government for both.

Roadside drugs kits are now used by officers if they suspect a driver may have drugs in their system, alongside field impairment tests that have always been used when a driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The kits highlight within minutes if a driver has either class A drug cocaine or class B drug cannabis in their system, resulting in the driver being arrested and taken into custody where a blood sample is taken and sent away to the lab to determine the actual amounts of the drug present.

“We developed a strategic and tactical plan to utilise the roadside kits effectively, and in the last six months we have conducted 328 roadside tests, which have resulted in 184 arrests.

“This equates to 56% of drivers tested having drugs in their system, which is quite concerning and we want people to realise they are potentially risking their life, as well as others, if they get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of drugs."

– Chief Insp. Glen Suttenwood, South Yorkshire Police's Road Policing

“Driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and can affect driving skills in a number of ways; your reaction time may be slower, your vision can be distorted and your concentration may lapse.

“The Safer Roads Partnership is trying to educate people that driving when you are unfit to do so because of any type of drug in your system puts you, your passengers and other road users at greater risk.

"If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines and you are not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

“As part of the change in legislation, all our young driver safety interventions which are delivered in schools and colleges now include information about the changes and the dangers of driving while under the influence.

“We are determined to make South Yorkshire roads safer and protect drivers in our county from the irresponsible and thoughtless actions of others.”

– Joanne Wehrle, Safer Roads Partnership Education Manager

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100 drivers arrested for drink and drug offences in Lincolnshire

100 drivers were arrested in December for drink and drug related offences. That is an average of 3 per day.

In the first 3 days of the campaign 8 people arrested for drink/drug related driving offences, on the very morning during the ‘official’ launch (4th Dec) the 9th driver was arrested.

By 12th December 36 people arrested had been arrested and by the 19th December that number had risen to 57.