Drug drivers told ‘get help or get caught’ this Christmas

A new campaign urging drug drivers to ‘get help or get caught’ has been launched by Lancashire Constabulary, police and crime commissioner Andrew Snowden and Lancashire’s Combatting Drugs Partnership. 

The warning comes as the annual drug and drink driving enforcement campaign gets underway, with roadside drug tests and breathalysers being carried out daily by trained officers across Lancashire.

Between November 21, 2022 until the new year, officers stopped more than 3,000 drivers at checkpoints, and found 343 unfit to be behind the wheel, through either drink or drugs.

Nationally, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics show convictions for driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs overall, increased from 41,457 in 2014 to 58,117 in 2022 – a rise of 40%.

1 in 20 fatal crashes are due to drug driving in the UK.

Driving under the influence of cannabis doubles the risk of a fatal or serious collision and driving under the influence of cocaine increases the risk by ten times.

The multi-media campaign has been launched on billboards, beer mats, posters, radio ads and social media to warn about the effects of drug driving and to signpost people for help through Talk to Frank.

Lancashire County Council has committed £3000 towards the campaign, which also urges people to contact Crimestoppers if they suspect anyone is driving impaired.

Throughout December and until the New Year, officers will be out stopping drivers at checkpoints and targeting people where intelligence suggests they may be drug or drink-driving.

Selfish and reckless

Assistant chief constable Peter Lawson, said: “We know that the majority of drivers follow the law and that it is only a small minority who choose to drink or drug-drive.

“However to those people we say this: driving while under the influence is both selfish and utterly reckless and the legal limit is there for a reason. No matter how well you believe you can drive under the influence, you are putting yourself and others in danger of serious harm or death and it is never, ever worth it.

“Over the next month we will be out and about on the roads and will be stopping motorists at checkpoints right across the county doing alcohol and drug screening tests. We will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who is found to be over the legal limit for alcohol or drugs.

“To those who do follow the law, we have a request: if you know anyone who drink or drug-drives, then please tell us and we will act on it. You may save a life or prevent someone being seriously injured.

“The message is simple: say no to drink or drug-driving so everybody can stay safe this Christmas.”

Avoidable risk

Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire Andrew Snowden said: “Those who recklessly drive under the influence of drugs, whether illicit or prescribed, taken without heading the cautions in the guidelines, put their loved ones and other road users at avoidable risk and need to be aware officers will be out across Lancashire, looking for them. The same applies to alcohol.

“Targeting dangerous drivers is a priority in my Fighting Crime Plan and it’s important that we do everything we can to keep Lancashire road users safe, through both education and enforcement activity to prevent and deter drug and drink driving from happening in our county.

“This year I’m funding this campaign to educate people about the effects of drug driving and to warn people that even if you do not look or feel impacted you still could have drugs in your system that will show up on a roadside test.

“We’re also encouraging residents to report drug driving and increase the amount of drug driving intelligence going to Crimestoppers and Lancashire Police so that officers can proactively target those who put others at risk.”

The campaign raises awareness of enforcement activity in targeting drug drivers to build public confidence and warn drug drivers they’re more likely than ever before to get caught. It also signposts to drug support and treatment services.

If you do suspect somebody is drink or drug driving, tell police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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