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1 December 2011, 06:00
Today Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police start a month-long campaign to combat drink and drug driving over the festive season.
The campaign aims to inform motorists of the consequences of drinking or taking drugs and then getting behind the wheel. It also serves to warn anyone tempted that if they do drink and drive, they are very likely to be caught or arrested.
Officers will be carrying out breath tests and Field Impairment Tests (FIT) to all drivers involved in accidents on the road. They will also be carrying out stop and checks on anyone driving suspiciously.
Chief Inspector Donna Pierce from Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Strategic Unit says ''Last year's campaign saw an increase in those arrested for driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs - anyone tempted to do so this year can rest assured they will be targeted by officers in the same way.
''Make sure you enjoy the party season safely. If you go out for a drink, arrange a safe way to get home - why not get a lift from a trusted friend who hasn't been drinking, or use a registered taxi?
''Never be tempted to take the chance that you're under the legal limit. Any amount of alcohol affects your reactions, and not only could you ruin your Christmas, lose your license and even your job, you could seriously injure or kill yourself, someone close to you or somebody else's loved one.
''It is also important to remember that alcohol will stay on your system for a while and depending on the amount of alcohol you have consumed, it is often still unsafe to drive the following morning even after a good night's sleep.''
Hundreds of people are killed by drink drivers in Britain every year and Steve Ottaway, from The Road Victim's Trust - a charity based in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire - says the lives of the families who have lost a loved one are changed forever ''You've not had the chance to say goodbye, you've not had the chance to put right that little argument you had the night before. It is absolutely devastating.''
He also says it can have a dramatic affect on the life of the culprit ''They have to wake up every day knowing that the person they have killed will never wake up. That lives with them for the rest of their lives.''