Published: December 5, 2010
Police launch drive to reduce drinking motorists over Christmas

Motorists in the Burnham-On-Sea area who drink and drive risk big fines and prison terms if caught, police have warned this week.

The stark warning was issued by Avon and Somerset Constabulary as it launched its annual drink driving campaign, supported by Somerset Road Safety Partnership.

Over the past eight years almost 2,000 drivers across the south west have been arrested and tested positive and subsequently lost their licences.

Since 2002 there has been gradual fall in the number of drivers arrested for drink driving - decreasing from a peak of 329 to just 207 a year ago - but the police's road policing unit is not being complacent and will be out and about in force this year to further drive down the number of offenders.

A refusal to provide a breath specimen could lead to a six month prison sentence, a fine of up to £5,000 and a 12 month ban from driving.

Drink drivers face up to six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and a ban of at least 12 months.

And anyone causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink, could be imprisoned for up to ten years and be banned for up to two years.

Chief Inspector Polly King told "We will remain relentless in our pursuit of drink drivers and our campaign to purge the roads of those who are willing to put the lives of themselves and others at potential risk by driving after having a drink."

"We will remain resolute in tracking down those that flout the law by choosing to drink and drive. We are particularly worried about an emerging trend over the past five years for the number of drivers aged under-25, who have been arrested for drink driving.

"Last winter around one third (62) of those arrested were in the 17-25 year age bracket, a trend we are keen to reverse."

Police say that more people are at risk over the Christmas and New Year period of being caught drink driving because it is the one time of the year when more people are likely to drink alcohol at family and work parties.

Pictured, top, a driver being breath tested by police and, above, officers at this week's launch of the Christmas drink drive campaign

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