December 1, 2015
Police launch Christmas drink drive crackdown in Burnham-On-Sea

Burnham-On-Sea Police have this week launched their annual Christmas campaign to clamp down on drink driving and alcohol-related crime over the festive period.

Avon and Somerset Police’s festive drink campaign got underway today on December 1st with vehicle stop-checks, extra road patrols and awareness-raising at events and in pubs and bars.

Operation Tonic will run throughout December and into the New Year, with the aim of reducing deaths, serious injuries and crime on local roads by tackling drink and drug driving.

Police say they will be naming publicly every motorist who is charged with a drink or drug driving offence.


If a driver is convicted for a drink or drug drive offence, they:

• Lose their licence for a minimum of one year.
• Will have a criminal record.
• May go to prison for up to six months.
• May have to pay an unlimited fine.
• May lose their job (15 per cent do).
• Face very high insurance costs in future.
• Will have difficulty hiring a car within 10 years.

If a driver is convicted twice in ten years, they face a three-year driving ban. To get their licence back, they may also have to convince a doctor that they do not have a drink problem.

If a driver is convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, drivers face:

• Up to 14 years in prison.
• An unlimited fine.
• A minimum two-year driving ban.

Traffic officers will also be using 'drugalyser' devices at the roadside to test drivers for suspected drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, using new laws that came in earlier this year.

Drug drivers could face an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, a minimum one-year driving ban and a criminal record.

Driving licences will also show the motorist has been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

Burnham-On-Sea Police are also urging anyone who has concerns about someone they believe may be drink or drug driving to call them on 101 or text the word drunk with as many details as they can to 81819.

In the police's last Operation Tonic campaign in June they breath-tested 974 drivers compared with 472 in 2014 and charged 78 drivers compared with 97. They also conducted 17 roadside drug tests with the new test equipment.

Road Safety Chief Inspector Yannis Georgiou said: "We are determined to do whatever we can to stop people driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. If just one collision or death is prevented, then our campaign will be a success."

"The message is clearer than ever - there is no excuse and we will arrest any drivers who are suspected to be driving while under the influence of drink or drugs."

And Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens added: "Over the festive period, many of us will be having fun, hosting gatherings and socialising with family and friends. Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is not only a crime, it is socially and morally unacceptable and can have devastating consequences."

"The police are committed to keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safe for all that use them. I believe the majority of law-abiding people support the police in doing all we can to bring offenders to justice, keeping the roads safe not only this Christmas but all year round."


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