Police begin Christmas crackdown of drink and drug drivers

PUBLISHED: 11:58 05 December 2018

Police are encouraging people to drink responsibly as part of the Operation Tonic campaign. Picture: Mark Atherton

Police are encouraging people to drink responsibly as part of the Operation Tonic campaign. Picture: Mark Atherton

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Police are reminding people to drink responsibly over the festive period.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launched its Operation Tonic campaign on Saturday.

The month-long operation includes high visibility and covert patrols aimed at targeting drink and drug drivers.

During last winter’s campaign, 146 people were arrested for drink and drug driving offences and those caught driving over the limit will face serious consequences.

Penalties include a hefty fine of more than £2,500, a driving ban or even a prison sentence of up to 14 years if death is caused by driving under the influence.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “During the festive period, many of us will be having fun, hosting gatherings and socialising with family and friends.

“Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is not only a crime, it is socially and morally unacceptable and can have devastating consequences. Don’t gamble with your ability to drive, it’s not worth the risk.

“The police are committed to keeping the roads safe for all who use them.

“I believe the majority of law-abiding people support the police in doing all we can to bring offenders to justice, keeping the roads safe not only this Christmas but all year round.”

Last year, police received more than 340 tip-offs from the public who were asked to call or text with information about intoxicated drivers.

Officers were able to respond to three quarters of calls and all other information received was fed into future investigations and intelligence for ongoing road safety management.

Superintendent Andy Williams, the constabulary’s head of road safety, added: “Our approach promotes education over prosecution where possible and our ultimate aim is to reduce deaths, serious injuries and crime related to drink and drug driving.

“Even being slightly over the limit will still land you with a penalty if you’re caught.”

People are urged to call 999 if they know someone who is driving under the influence and in less urgent cases and when the driver is not behind the wheel, text the word ‘drunk’ to 07400 279101 with the details of the car, location and driver.

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