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Cumbria Police launch Christmas drink-drive crackdown

Dominic Loftus Photo: ITV Border

The family of a young man killed while travelling in a car with an over the limit driver have teamed up with Cumbria Police to launch the Force's 2015 Christmas crackdown on drink and drug driving.

Ian and Susan Loftus lost their son Dominic in October 2013 when the car he was in collided with a dry stone wall between Greystoke and Motherby near Penrith.

The driver and two other passengers survived the collision but 22-year-old Dominic died at the scene.

His parents have spoken out about the impact on their friends and local community following Dominic's death and have produced a video is also a message for anyone thinking of having a drink and getting behind the wheel this Christmas.

“This individual case shows that drink driving can cause a tragic loss of life on Cumbria’s roads. This highlights the wider impact in the months and years following a drink driving incident that can deeply affect the family, friends and local community. We echo the words of Ian and Susan Loftus that although this is a Christmas drink drive campaign we want the public to be aware of the consequences 365 days a year. We want to directly appeal to anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs to watch this video and think twice about their actions.

“Prevention is definitely best when it comes to reducing the risk to people’s lives. We support the words of Ian and Susan and want to stop a driver before they kill or seriously injure someone and therefore this year we continue to appeal to members of the public to contact the police when they suspect a person driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“Such calls will be treated as an emergency as lives could be at stake and we hope that members of the public will be responsible with this assistance.”

– Chief Inspector Terry Bathgate, Cumbria Police
Credit: Press Association

Each December a national campaign is run to encourage people not to drink and drive. However, every year people are still being detected over the limit with either alcohol or drugs in their system whilst driving.

In December 2014, 2,907 breath tests were administered in Cumbria, which resulted in 64 people either failing or refusing a test. This was a decrease on the previous year where 97 people either failed or refused a breathalyser test.

Of the 64 tests in 2014 which were either failed or refused, 15 followed a road traffic collision. In 2013, 17 people failed or refused a test following a road traffic collision.

Throughout this month officers from Cumbria Police's Mobile Support Unit along with assistance from Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be highlighting the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As well as intelligence-led checks, patrols will be carrying out regular spot checks on the county’s roads.