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1 December 2011, 13:38 | Updated: 1 December 2011, 14:27
Drivers are being told to think about the consequences as Essex Police begin their Christmas anti-drink drive campaign.
Over the festive season expect to see more patrols and checks on roads across the county.
During last year’s month-long campaign, a total of 181 out of the 5279 drivers stopped and breathalysed were found to be over the limit, a reduction of 31% on the same period in 2009.
Of those found to be over the limit, 82% were men and 18% were women. A total of 28% were aged under 25 and 72% were aged 25 and over.
Adam Pipe, casualty reduction manager for Essex Police, said: "Drink driving is no joke. It risks lives, not just that of the driver and their passengers but other innocent people using the road and can result in a criminal record, the loss of a driving licence or a fine of up to £5000. More seriously, those who kill or injure someone could face up to 14 years in prison and have to live with their actions for the rest of their lives.
"Christmas is a time for fun and celebration but we’re asking everyone to take responsibility. If you are planning a night out, designate a driver who will stick to soft drinks and get you home safely at the end of the night.
"The reality is drink driving kills. A cold shower, something to eat and a strong black coffee won’t sober you up so don’t take the risk.”
Ann Scott, from Crimestoppers in our region, said: "Last year Crimestoppers received just under 100 calls about drink drivers in Essex, indicating that this is a real concern for the public."
Essex Police is asking people to help keep the county’s roads safe this Christmas by stopping family and friends getting behind the wheel if they have had an alcoholic drink and reporting drink drivers by: