A TOTAL of 324 drivers caught drink and/or drug driving during December have been taken off the roads of Avon and Somerset.

The figure shows a 10 per cent hike in the number of arrests made during the same period in 2022, with 68 per cent of offenders nabbed for drink driving and 32 per cent for drug driving.

Through a combination of stop check sites, intelligence, public reports and proactive patrols, around 2,000 drivers were stopped during the campaign.

One incident saw a 999 call from a motorist who witnessed a vehicle being driven erratically on the M5 near junction Taunton. Police located and stopped the vehicle, the driver was breathalysed, arrested and subsequently charged with drink driving. In court he received a 20-month driving ban and £120 fine.

During the winter operation, motorists aged between 25 and 34 accounted for 30 per cent of arrests, followed by 35s to 44s on 26 per cent and both 45-54 and under 25s on 17 per cent. Four in five of those arrested were male (79 per cent).

Assistant Chief Constable Joanne Hall said: “Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal, but also a reckless and dangerous choice that puts lives at risk. The consequences of such decisions can be catastrophic, causing irreversible harm and heartache to families and loved ones.

“I would like to thank the public who are helping us to target those people that they suspect are drink or drug driving. By doing this, you are helping us to reinforce the message that getting behind the wheel while under the influence is never acceptable. Together we are keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safer.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of our teams who work tirelessly to keep our roads safe, and will continue to do so throughout the year.”

Drivers risk up to six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban if they are caught driving while above the legal limit. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.