Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has released the latest drink drive figures midway through its Christmas crackdown on those who attempt to drive while intoxicated through alcohol or drugs.
The work forms part of Operation Advent*, GMP’s response to tackling potential spikes in crime in the run up to Christmas, including drink and drug driving, burglary, alcohol-fuelled violence and theft.
Figures for the period 1-16 December 2012 show that police across Greater Manchester conducted 5,945 breath tests, which saw 217 people arrested for failing them. Of these, 32 were involved in collisions where the driver was found to be over the limit, and a further three people were arrested for drug driving following roadside impairment tests.
Among the tactics employed to tackle drink driving this Christmas, officers are carrying out breath tests at check points across the region and targeting drivers whom intelligence suggests might be offenders. Motorists are also being educated on the dangers of drink driving and the penalties for doing so.**
Inspector John Armfield, GMP’s lead on drink driving, said: “When you consider that these figures are only for the first half of December, they make for grim reading. My message is very simple – if you are having a drink, don't drive. We want everybody to have an enjoyable and memorable Christmas, but we want people to act responsibly.
“Sadly, the 217 people we’ve arrested so far are having a memorable Christmas for the wrong reasons, and I want to remind everybody that drink or drug driving wrecks lives. If you are caught you will face a criminal record, a heavy fine, loss of your licence, loss of your job perhaps and even a prison sentence possibly.”
As well as the work police are doing, price comparison website Confused.com commissioned a secret camera campaign this Christmas to highlight public apathy towards drink driving.
A 90 second video has been released in which an actor pretending to be drunk asks passers-by for help getting into his car.
The awareness video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1daxgkN11Y
It aims to see if strangers will turn a blind eye to drink driving, and more than 50 people were approached by the actor. Of these, more than two thirds helped him get into his car, despite his drunkenness.
Eight people refused to help, telling the actor that he shouldn’t be driving, and just one confiscated the man’s car keys and called the police.
A number of people spotted the man, yet carried on walking, ignoring his obvious attempts to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
Inspector Armfield added: “Anyone driving after consuming drink or drugs greatly increases their likelihood of being involved in a collision, and the human costs imposed on victims and their families are immeasurable. I would urge people who suspect anyone of drink or drug driving to contact police directly on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, as we will follow up any information passed on.”
* People can follow what police are doing for Operation Advent on GMP’s social media networks that include Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and audioBoo. All related tweets on Twitter will contain the hash tag #GMPadvent
** 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 will 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
If you're convicted of drink driving:
• You'll have a criminal record
• You won't be allowed to drive for at least a year
• You could lose your job
• You will have higher insurance costs
• Your driving licence will be endorsed for 11 years