Hertfordshire Constabulary is currently running a drink and drug driving campaign, with officers out in force across the county targeting those under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel and urging motorists to be sensible in their decision-making during the festive season.
Strong medical evidence says that drinking or drug taking impairs reaction times and the ability to think clearly. As a result, motorists who drive under the influence are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal collision. As part the campaign, officers will be conducting proactive checks across the county throughout the festive period.
PC Christian Gottmann, from the Three Rivers Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “By choosing to drink and drive, not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you’re risking the lives of your passengers and other law-abiding road users. If you are planning to go out this Christmas, please plan ahead and make sure you get home safely. Book a taxi or designate a non-drinking driver. Having ‘just one more’ could be the difference between where you end up that night. Please don’t take the risk of not ending up at home, safe with your loved ones. If you are driving, we would advise you not to drink at all.”
As part of this years’ campaign, the Three Rivers Safer Neighbourhood Team have joined forces with local partners, including the ambulance and fire service, to highlight the reality of drink driving from the perspective of those who have had to deal with the aftermath.
John McCusker, Leading Operations Manager from the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “Having spent a considerable number of years with the Ambulance service I’ve seen all too often the effect that drink or drug driving has. Alcohol and drugs impact your judgement, self-control and reaction time. You can’t assess your own impairment as alcohol creates a false feeling of confidence. I’ve seen victims of drink driving, the families and friends who arrive on scenes who see the devastation that it causes - those memories will never leave them. A poor choice by drinking or taking drugs can have effects that will last for life, including on the families of those affected, the community as a whole and the emergency services themselves.”
Sergeant Andrew Blackwood, who worked as a Roads Policing Unit officer for several years, said: “I spent four years working as a roads policing officer, and in that time I dealt with numerous fatal collisions. The impact of any fatality is immeasurable for a family. Having to explain that their loved one has passed away and trying to provide comfort and reassurance that they did not suffer takes a toll on you, especially when it is avoidable. The Christmas period is a time to celebrate and spend quality time with friends and family, making plans should always include how you get home, all so you don’t have to be the one responsible for another family’s loss. Please don’t drink and drive.”
Matthew Yapp, who works as a Watch Commander for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue service, said: “Having served as Fire Fighter for many years, I have been fortunate enough to have had the experience of saving lives and the feeling of making a difference. However, I have also been part of casualty rescues from distressing car crashes caused by drink driving that will stay with me forever.
Every year, the Fire and Rescue Service attend traffic collisions to cut people out of cars and to administer lifesaving treatment. Some of them are accidents, some of them are not. Drink driving is never an accident. For the lives lost, for the children left without their parents, for the destruction it leaves behind, please don’t drink and drive.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary is also reminding motorists of the dangers of driving the day after drinking, as you may well still be over the limit. Motorists caught drink or drug driving face a 12-month ban, a large fine, and a criminal record. These can lead to job loss, relationship breakdowns, foreign travel restrictions and increased insurance premiums.
If you suspect someone is going to drive while under the influence of drink or drugs, call 999 immediately and give the operator as much information as possible. This will help us reduce the number of drink drivers on our roads.
Three Rivers police have set up an anonymous survey regarding drink driving as part of their campaign looking to raise awareness around the issue over the festive season. We would welcome your views - bit.ly/police-drinkdrive