Dad Backs Drink Drive Awareness Campaign

1 December 2010, 17:23 | Updated: 1 December 2010, 18:22

More people in Norfolk and Suffolk are going to be pulled over and breathalised from today as police start their month long Christmas drink drive awareness campaigns today.

In Suffolk, their campaign is two fold. They are going on patrol with the British Transport Police to spread the message in train stations and offering voluntary breathalysing tests as well as helping to arrange a taxi back if needed. The campaign is also being fronted by a father who's daughter was killed by a drink-driver in a head-on crash. Sarah Lee was killed near Sutton on Saturday 5 December, 2009. The 24-year-old teacher had been returning home to Colchester after leaving work in Holbrook when an Audi 100 struck her Ford Focus on Manningtree Road.  

An inquest found that the Audi driver, 24-year-old Matthew Anderson, had two-and-a-half times the legal level of alcohol in his body at the time of the crash. He too died at the scene. The inquest also heard that Matthew Anderson had been travelling at between 60-80mph and was on the wrong side of the road when the collision happened. A verdict of unlawful killing was recorded for the death of Sarah Lee, with one of accidental death for Matthew Anderson.

Her father David Lee, said: "If we really want to eradicate drink-driving, I believe we must take collective action in support of the idea that it's socially unacceptable. It requires a major culture change, such that we no longer tolerate people attempting to 'get away it'. We all need to take some responsibility for helping to prevent our friends or family members from committing road crimes.

Chief Insp Dawson from Suffolk police added: "We want to educate people, but we will also enforce the law. We don't want to ruin somebody's Christmas by telling them about the loss of a loved one, nor do we want to jeopardise someone's career by prosecuting them for drink-driving. We want people to enjoy the festive season in safety."

In Norfolk, police are focusing on people still over the limit the morning after nights out, breathalysing anyone they pull over.  The campaign involves looking at people that drink and drive the morning after a night out, perhaps without realising they would still be considered over the limit and will try to get them to arrange alternative methods of transport.

Think! Norfolk is using posters and billboards to get their message across.

Iain Temperton, chairman of Think! Norfolk told Heart, "There are people that are well intentioned who might go out and have a drink at a party or a meal and the next morning think 'I'm OK' and take the kids to school but could potentially still be over the limit.''

Officers from both Suffolk and Norfolk police will be breathalysing drivers over the month long campaign.

Last year during the campaign in Suffolk, officers conducted 1,416 breath tests, with 95 drivers testing positive. This hit-rate of 6.7 per cent equated to three motorists being arrested each day of the campaign.

In Norfolk, officers conducted 5152 breath tests, with 96 drivers testing positive. This also equates to around 3 people being caught over the legal limit per day during the campaign.

Suffolk and Norfolk police's drink-drive awareness and enforcement campaigns run from Wednesday 1 December, 2010 - Saturday 1 January, 2011 (inclusive).