Cumbria Road Safety Partnership is supporting a national campaign this month (December) aimed at ridding our roads of those who abuse drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
The partnership is made up of agencies – including Cumbria Constabulary – which work to make Cumbria’s roads safer for all.
Cumbria Constabulary works every day of the year to take drug and drink-drivers off our roads. However, in the lead up to Christmas and New Year and many people going out for work parties, officers will be looking out for anyone who is unfit to be in charge of a vehicle.
Inspector Steve Minnikin said: “Anyone who drinks or takes drugs before getting behind the wheel has the potential to cause devastation this Christmas.
“Our officers are now better equipped than ever before to catch anyone who is unfit to drive through drugs – be they illegal substances or prescription drugs which impair the ability to drive.
“The consequences of getting behind the wheel whilst unfit to do so could be fatal. Drivers lucky enough to be arrested before causing a collision also face losing their license and, potentially their livelihood.
“There’s no excuse. Simply taking the time to plan ahead – arrange lifts or a taxi – will mean you are never tempted to get behind the wheel whilst impaired.”
Police and other CRSP agencies are also keen to ensure people are aware of the dangers posed by getting behind the wheel the morning after drinking or using drugs.
Drivers can often still be over the limit the morning after – and the penalties if caught will be just as serious.
Insp Minnikin added: “Drink-driving has been viewed by society for many years now as completely unacceptable. It is important that everyone sees drug driving the same way.
“Whilst our officers will always be on the look-out for those who get behind the wheel whilst impaired, there is also a great deal the people of Cumbria can do in support of this.
“Make sure your friends and family are aware of the dangers and the potential consequences. Don’t get into the car if you suspect someone has been drinking or is unfit through taking drugs.
“Please call the police if you suspect someone of drink or drug driving. Your call could save their life or the life of another innocent road user.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “I would like to add my own plea to those that might think it is OK to drink – or do drugs – and drive – just don’t do it. It is not worth it, and there is no need whatsoever to put your lives at risk, and the lives of other innocent people.
“I know from what the public tell me, that drink/drugs driving is something that people are concerned about and want the police to do more about. In response to that, we now have more officers then ever out and about, having bolstered our neighbourhood policing teams with an additional 25 officers I pledged to provide. But even with that, the police cannot be everywhere – so I would urge people to take responsibility and try to dissuade someone from doing this or if you suspect someone has had too much to drink or taken drugs – report it. We all need to work together to keep our roads safe.”