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Thames Valley Police launch summer drink and drug-drive campaign

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Thames Valley Police will be taking part in the European TISPOL (European Traffic Police Network) campaign to crack down on motorists who are drinking and drug-driving.

Throughout the week starting Monday 6th June 2016 police forces across Europe will be increasing the number of roadside checks and drivers breathalysed and tested for drugs.

Thames Valley Police will then continue these checks as part of the NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council) campaign which will run throughout June 2016 and into July 2015 and coincide with the UEFA Euro Championships.

Drivers who are found to be unfit to drive or over the drink or drug-drive limit will be arrested.

Drink or drug-drivers can expect a fine of up to £5,000, a custodial sentence of up to six months and a mandatory disqualification of 12 months, as well as three to 11 points on their licence.

Sgt Chris Appleby, from the Roads Policing Department, said: ‘Driving after drinking is a major cause of death and injury on our roads. Alcohol impairs many of the functions necessary for safe driving and the risk of death or injury rapidly increases with alcohol consumption, it’s not worth the risk.

This is the first drink and drug-drive campaign this year, following on from the success of the 2015 national Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign.  Nationally 110,226 motorists were breathalysed with 5,543 (5%) testing positive, refused to provide or failed There were also 1,888 drug screening device tests administered, 931 of which (49%) were positive.

A new report (March 2016) written and published on behalf of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport (PACTS) has confirmed that alcohol is the biggest impairment to drivers.

On Monday 2nd March 2015 the drug-driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug-drivers. Seventeen legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. The limits for all illegal drugs are extremely low – taking even a very small amount of an illegal drug could put drivers over the limit.

However, a recent survey by Brake Road Safety Charity revealed a shocking one in 16 drivers (6%) admit they drive at least once a month after having taken drugs. The Department for Transport confirmed a six-fold increase in the number of people caught drug-driving in the 12 months since the law change.

Official figures show 47 road deaths and 197 serious injuries in 2014 were caused when a driver was impaired by some kind of drug.

This campaign will draw drivers’ attention to the risks posed by using drink or drugs while in control of a vehicle and the serious penalties which they will face when they are caught.

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