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As the party season starts, Hampshire and Dorset police both launch their Christmas drink and drug driving campaigns today.
For the next month, the two forces will be doing extra roadside checks and breath-testing everyone who's involved in crashes.
It’ll run from Wednesday 1 December 2010 to Saturday 1 January 2011.
Chief Inspector Bob Nichols, Head of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “During the festive season some people may be tempted to drink and drive, but if they do, the consequences could be devastating.
“Not only do drink drivers risk their own lives, they also risk the lives of innocent road users.
“My advice to drivers is simple – don’t get behind the wheel after drinking any alcohol at all, as research has shown that even one drink can impair the ability to drive.
“The legal consequences of being caught drink driving are extensive. They include a minimum 12 month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.
“However, drink drivers may face even further consequences as they could lose their job or destroy a relationship and live with the stigma of being a convicted drink driver.
“If you are going out for a social drink over the festive period, then plan ahead to make sure you can get home safely without having to drive. Take simple steps such as booking a taxi, having a designated driver in your group of friends or arranging overnight accommodation.
“Drivers also need to be aware that they could still be over the limit the morning after a night of drinking alcohol.”
Last year’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign results showed that young drivers continue to risk lives by getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol – as almost 50% of people arrested during the 2009 campaign were under the age of 30.
Chief Inspector Nichols added: “If a member of the public suspects someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they should dial 999 immediately and report the details to the police so that we can intercept that vehicle.
“Last year’s campaign showed that a large number of drivers under the age of 30 continue to risk their lives, and the lives of innocent road users, by driving while under the influence of alcohol.
“I would encourage friends and relatives of drivers who are considering driving after drinking alcohol to do everything they can to ensure this doesn’t happen.
“People have been killed or seriously injured on Dorset’s roads in recent years due to drink driving over the festive period – so don’t take the gamble, the consequences can be truly devastating.”
Members of the public can also call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 or the Dorset Police non-emergency number on 01202 or 01305 22 22 22.
Meanwhile in Hampshire, people are also being encouraged to use the text message service if you think someone’s driving when they shouldn’t be.
By sending a text to 80999, you can still report the details to the police.
Chief Superintendent Barry Talbot of Hampshire police says: “If you’re out enjoying the party season this year, make sure you plan ahead and organise a safe journey home.
“The effects of alcohol and many drugs can last for hours, so you may still be unsafe to drive the next day.
He added: “The punishments are tough if you are caught driving under the influence. You could be fined, banned from driving or even sent to jail.
“If this sort of anti-social behaviour doesn’t kill you or someone else, it can still ruin lives.”