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Hampshire Constabulary launches its summer drink-drive reduction campaign Operation Solar today (Friday, June 1).
Last year 692 people were arrested between June 1 and September 1 on suspicion of drink-driving.
Of those arrested 561 were charged with the offence.
With Britain hosting the 2012 Olympics, the constabulary’s Roads Policing unit is anticipating is potential rise in people unwittingly getting behind the wheel drunk as they celebrate what is hoped to be a golden year for UK athletes.
“There are a lot of events this summer that will see many of us gather to celebrate with friends and family,” said Superintendent Chris Brown, head of roads policing for Hampshire and Thames Valley. “This summer should be one to remember, so the last thing we want is for 2012 to be a year some would rather forget because of drink driving.
“Our message therefore is simple: don’t drink and drive. It’s simply not worth the risk.”
Roads policing officers will be out in force this summer carrying out drink-drive operations throughout the two counties. Officers will breathalyse everyone suspected of a driving offence.
This year they’ll be carrying out early morning operations targeting those who may still be suffering the affects of alcohol consumed the night before.
“Drinking late into the evening and then getting up early for work is not a good combination,” said Supt Brown. “Just because you’ve had a few hours sleep doesn’t mean all the alcohol has left your system, and you could still be driving to work over the limit.”
Last year, the worst age group for drink-driving was 21 to 25-year-olds with 146 arrests (21 per cent) between June and September.
Drivers aged between 26 and 30 came in a close second with 93 arrests (13 per cent).
Anyone caught drink-driving faces a minimum 12-month ban, up to £5,000 fine and a criminal record – and that’s the best case scenario.
Causing death by drink-driving carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and a minimum two-year ban. Being drunk in charge of a vehicle could result in three months' imprisonment, a fine of up to £2,500 and a driving ban.
“We’re often asked how much you can drink before you are over the limit,” said Supt Brown. “Any amount of alcohol affects your coordination and judgement. The simplest and safest option for everyone is simply not to drink if you plan to drive.”