Avon and Somerset Police have made 245 arrests during their winter drink and drug driving operation in their largest operation in recent years.
The force says that 221 arrests have been made for drink-related offences while 39 relate to drug use, with several in the Burnham-On-Sea area.
The 25-34 year old age group accounted for almost a third (82) of the arrests, followed by 25-44 year olds (62 arrests), while Under 25’s accounted for 47 arrests.
Officers have also stopped and educated more than 2,000 drivers about drink/drug driving in 55 roadside stop checks since the start of December.
Superintendent Paul Underhill, Avon and Somerset Police’s force lead for Road Safety, says: “Drink and drug driving takes lives and devastates families. The repercussions and trauma last for years.”
“That’s why our work to take drink and drug drivers off the road doesn’t stop in January. It remains a priority that we will continue to target every day of the year, with officers making on average 200 arrests a month for these offences.”
“It is appalling that despite all the warnings some people selfishly choose to drink or drug drive, putting themselves and others at huge risk on the roads. In the last year alone, our officers had to visit the next of kin of 12 people who are never going to come home again because of a collision in which drink or drugs was a factor.”
“We thank the public for their support in letting us know where they suspect or know drink or drug driving is happening – together we are keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safer.”
Drivers risk up to six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban if they are caught driving while above the legal limit. Anyone who causes a death while drink or drug driving faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford adds: “A massive well done to officers involved in this operation during the festive season; it is shocking that a number of individuals thought it was acceptable to get in the driver’s seat while under the influence of drink or drugs.”
“I know officers will continue to target those who are reckless and selfish enough to drink and drive. As I have said before, I urge motorists to take personal responsibility for never getting behind the wheel when under the influence of drink or drugs and, if you do, there is a high chance of being caught of Avon and Somerset Police. It’s not worth the risk.”
The December drink/drug arrest figures exceeds the 191 arrests of December 2020 and 221 arrests of December 2019 and is the second highest monthly arrest total for drink/drug driving since January 2018 (the highest being July 2020 when 247 arrests were made). The 39 drug drive arrests is lower than the 45 recorded in the same period in 2020, but up on the 31 drug arrests of December 2019.
12 people were arrested for drink/drug driving on New Year’s Day – nine of these between midnight and 4.30am.
Police continue to ask the public to come forward with information about drink/drug drivers and report via 101 or online, via Crimestoppers or by calling 999 if the offence is currently happening.