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Cumbria Police campaign will see officers target drink and drug drivers this summer

[D]rivers who get behind the wheel whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, putting lives at risk, are being targeted this summer.

Officers will be making use of drug wipe testing devices in order catch those who take substances such as cocaine and cannabis before getting behind the wheel.

More traditional breath-tests to catch drink drivers will also continue to be regularly used.

Inspector Steve Minnikin of Cumbria Police’s Mobile Support Group said: “Cumbria Police, as a member of Cumbria Road Safety Partnership, is always seeking to improve road safety and reduce the number of collisions resulting in serious or fatal injuries.

“Drinking or taking drugs before getting behind the wheel is an incredibly selfish and dangerous decision.

“Those our officers catch will face losing their license and, perhaps their livelihood. Those we don’t get to in time are at serious risk of losing their life or taking the life of someone else.

“I would urge people to speak with friends or relatives who they suspect of this kind of behaviour before it’s too late.”

Being impaired through drugs may not necessarily be as the result of taking illegal drugs. People who are impaired through the use of prescription drugs can also find themselves impaired. Anyone using prescription drugs should read the instruction information provided carefully before driving. If in doubt, consult a doctor and do not drive if you feel the drug is impairing you in any way.

Officers are now better equipped than ever to find those who are impaired through drugs and put them before the courts.

And a recent training drive means we now have more officers than ever before who can carry out the roadside tests which test saliva and give a swift positive or negative result.

Officers can also use Field Impairment Tests (FITs), which are six tests aimed at ascertaining whether someone is fit to be driving on the road (e.g. finger on nose, pupils, one leg stand, etc).

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “A significant part of my role involves listening to the views, concerns and issues from people in Cumbria, and ascertaining what their priorities for the police are.

“One subject that comes up frequently is road-safety in general, and in particular, speeding – which often goes hand-in-hand with driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs. This is why I welcome this campaign, and was pleased to join the Force’s Mobile Support Group this afternoon and saw evidence of this for myself.

“Unbelievably, in this day and age and with all the publicity about the dangers of drink/drug driving, there are still too many irresponsible people out there who will risk their lives. Equally unacceptable is that they are also risking the lives of innocent victims, by getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“The Force have never been better equipped to catch drivers that flout the law, and the message is simple – don’t do it, but if you do, you will be caught.”

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