THOSE out enjoying the World Cup or celebrating the festive season are being urged to “show drink and drug driving the red card” to keep themselves and others safe on the road.
Gloucestershire’s Road Safety Partnership is tellng people to act responsibly this winter and not get behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs.
The partnership runs an anti drink and drug driving campaign every year for Christmas and New Year, but with England progressing through to the quarter finals of the World Cup this Saturday (December 10), the warning is carrying extra weight this year.
The campaign, led by Gloucestershire Constabulary, the county council, the fire and rescue service and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, aims to educate drivers of the dangers and penalties they could face by getting behind the wheel under the influence.
Last year, 95 motorists were arrested in Gloucestershire having tested positive for drink or drugs over the festive period.
The partners say drivers who combine alcohol and drugs are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those who drive sober.
Motorists are urged to ask themselves whether they’re “mate enough” to let a friend drink or drug drive, and to question the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality of most offenders.
Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson said: “As everyone looks forward to the holiday season, all road users must recognise the need to behave responsibly whenever they get behind a wheel.
“And if you’re a passenger, you also have a responsibility to call-out inappropriate behaviour.
“A great deal of work has gone into making drink driving socially unacceptable.
“Road users need to understand driving under the influence of drugs is equally unsafe and intolerable.
“Those who flout the law are not only putting themselves at risk but others too”.
Motorists can expect to see more roadside police checks in both urban and rural areas across the county when the festive clamp-down begins.
The Special Constabulary will also be conducting a number of “proactive” operations throughout the county, and roads policing officers will be making targeted patrols.
County Councillor Dave Norman, Chair of the Road Safety Partnership, added: “Christmas is a time when many people are out enjoying themselves which is wonderful and there’s even more to enjoy with the World Cup.
“But we must make sure we all enjoy this festive season safely and don’t endanger ourselves and others.”
Inspector Rachel Lynch-Warden from the Roads Policing Unit said: “We want to ensure that motorists and members of the public are aware of the dangers and consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
“This year’s campaign is slightly different to those of previous years and has a focus on those following the World Cup as more people may decide to visit the county’s pubs, bars and clubs before taking the risk of driving home.
“Attending Christmas festivities and watching the World Cup should be fun and enjoyable moments for all but things could end so badly if you drink or drug drive and are involved in a collision.
“This is why there will be an increased police presence on the roads of Gloucestershire over the coming weeks.
“The force has recently purchased an additional 20 breathalyser test kits to improve our roadside testing capability, helping to make our roads even safer for our communities.”