The Safer Roads Partnership in Warwickshire and West Mercia is warning people of the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs this summer.
Drink and drug driving offences typically increase during the summer with more opportunity for people to think they can risk mixing drinking with driving. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the consequences of driving after drinking.
The campaign will feature in local media and in a large number of licensed premises across Warwickshire and West Mercia.
As well as targeted campaign activity over the summer months to raise awareness, enforcement of these offences will be a key priority for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police.
Roadside checks will be carried out at all times of the day and night and on all types of road.
Over the past three years, 118 people have been killed or seriously injured in West Mercia and 78 in Warwickshire as a result of collisions involving drink or drugs.
Of particular concern is those motorists aged between 17 and 30, just over 64 per cent of drivers involved in collisions causing death or serious injury involving drink or drugs were aged 17-30, of which around 87 per cent were male.
The immediate consequences for anyone if they are caught drink driving include a minimum 12 month driving ban, up to six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record.
A conviction for drink driving can have a major impact on the future prospects of a young person. For example, it may lead to job loss and significant problems when applying for a job in the future.
New drug driving laws brought in from March also makes it a lot easier for the police to tackle drivers who choose to drive whilst under the influence of drugs, with new drug testing kits in place to detect cannabis and cocaine.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership, said: “During the summer months, we all enjoy the longer evenings but this often puts people in situations where they may be drinking more than usual - e.g. barbecues, local pub gardens, festivals, etc.
“Our campaign aims to highlight the fact that mixing drinking and driving simply isn’t worth the risk. Our message is very simple: If you’re driving, don’t drink any alcohol at all. Alcohol affects everyone very differently and any amount can impair your ability to drive. The only safe option is to avoid alcohol completely if you are driving, as even ‘just one drink’ could put you over the limit.”
Chief Insp Adrian Knight, Protective Services, Warwickshire Police & West Mercia Police, said: “Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are committed to year round enforcement of offences of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
“We are acutely aware that the summer period can see a rise in the commission of these offences.
“Officers within both force areas will be tasked with proactive patrolling and enforcement of legislation designed to make travelling on the roads safer for everyone.
“The consequences of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs can be catastrophic for families of people who die or suffer serious injuries as a result of unfit drivers.”
The campaign coincides with the launch on June 1 of the summer drink drive campaign by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) which all police forces across the UK are asked to support.