PATROLS are being stepped up across Wigan borough as the seasonal crackdown on drink-drivers gets under way in earnest.
And they today urged motorists not to take a chance this Christmas by getting behind the wheel while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
Insp John Armfield said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves this Christmas, but we also want people to act responsibly and be safe.
“If you are having a drink, do not drive. Make alternative arrangements to get home, and that way you won’t ruin anyone’s Christmas.
“Words cannot describe the enormous impact on bereaved families who lose loved ones through drink or drug driving, and we will continue to do all we can to bring down the number of casualties.”
The work forms part of GMP’s road safety campaign, Dicing with Death, which was set up after 75 people lost their lives on the roads of Greater Manchester in 2011. This compared to 53 the previous year: an increase of 42 per cent.
GMP’s pledge to make the roads safer helped to reduce deaths by 38 per cent between February and October 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, meaning 22 fewer victims.
However, figures from December 2011 show that there is still much work to do to combat drink and drug driving – during this month police conducted 11,855 alcohol screening tests which resulted in 413 arrests. Of these, 78 involved collisions where the driver was found to be over the limit, and a further 34 people were arrested following field impairment tests.
Among the tactics employed to tackle drink-driving this year, officers will be carrying out breath tests at check points across the borough and targeting drivers where intelligence suggests they may be offenders.
Motorists will also be educated on the dangers of drink driving and the penalties for doing so.
As well as being part of the Dicing with Death campaign, the drink drive crackdown forms part of Operation Advent, GMP’s response to tackling the potential spikes in crime in the run up to Christmas. These include drink and drug driving, burglary, alcohol-fuelled violence and theft.
Police are reminding motorists that:
Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive;
There is no fool-proof way of drinking and staying under the limit;
The amount and type of alcoholic drink and your weight, sex, age and metabolism all play their part;
Sobering up tricks do not work;
If you have been out drinking the night before you may still be over the limit the next day.