Warning as police launch crackdown on drink-driving

A police breathalyser test (posed by models)
A police breathalyser test (posed by models)

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POLICE are to carry out early morning spot-checks as part of a summer crackdown on drink-driving.

And officers are urging people to shop motorists they suspect of getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Police fear more people may take risks by drinking and driving during the summer months, particularly with massive celebrations planned for events including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, London 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012 football tournament.

The early morning stings are part of a three-month crackdown to be known as Operation Solar.

Superintendent Chris Brown, head of roads policing for Hampshire and Thames Valley, said: ‘There are a lot of events this summer that will see many of us gather to celebrate with friends and family.

‘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.’

Last year 692 people were arrested between June and September on suspicion of drink-driving – the oldest aged 89.

Of those, 561 were charged with an offence.

Young people aged between 21 and 25 were the worst offenders with 146 arrests – 21 per cent of the total.

Chief Inspector Cleave Faulkner said: ‘My advice to anybody who is thinking about driving a car is to not have any alcohol at all.

‘There is a myth out there that people seem to think that they can have a couple and they are safe to drive. That’s purely not the case.

‘Fortunately we have a fairly reasonable summer in this country and in those times people undertake social events such as barbecues and they enjoy the time out at the pub or in the garden, so their focus on drinking and driving may not be as sharp as it otherwise maybe.’

He added: ‘The other important thing to remember is that people might actually give us a call to advise us that you are drink-driving and I would welcome that, because the one person we detect and stop from drinking and driving is that one person who has then not killed or seriously injured someone on the roads of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.’

Anyone caught drink-driving faces a minimum 12-month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record.