Published: November 30, 2012
Police launch drink driving campaign in Burnham-On-Sea area

Police in Burnham-On-Sea have today (Friday) launched their annual Christmas drink and drug drive campaign with a warning that offenders face jail terms.

Extra checks of motorists will be carried over the festive period during the force's 'Operation Tonic' campaign, which runs until January 1st.

And they're calling on members of the public to shop a drink or drug driver by ringing 999 or texting the word 'drunk' to a special number, 81819, from their mobile phone if they see anyone getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

Chief Insp John Holt of the Operations and Roads Policing Unit said: "Drink and drug driving is totally unacceptable and is a serious crime. Most people regard it as socially and morally wrong and I'm sure they fully support our all-year round campaign to make the roads of Avon and Somerset safer for all."

The system of texting the word drunk to 81819 was introduced last year by Avon and Somerset Police and had a good response from members of the public. This Christmas the 81819 number will be promoted on posters and beer mats.

Chief Insp Holt added: "We want everyone to have a happy, safe and crime-free Christmas. People should remember there is no safe drinking limit – other than not drinking at all."

Police have warned that refusal to provide a breath specimen could lead to a six month prison sentence, a fine of up to £5000 and a 12 month ban from driving.

Drink drivers also face up to six months in prison, a fine of up to £5000 and a ban of at least 12 months. Anyone causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink could be imprisoned for up to 10 years and banned for up to two years.

Last Christmas 231 people gave positive breath or drugs tests in the force region – 13 for drugs. A total of 11,984 vehicles were stopped and drink/drug driving advice was given by officers.

Of those stopped 1,771 were given breath or drugs tests. Just over 50 text messages were received giving information about drink or drugs drivers.

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