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Last week we launched our Christmas anti-drink drive campaign to ask people not to drink before getting into their car and driving this festive period.
But we have arrested 29 people on suspicion of drink driving since that date (1 December), 20 of those people in the first weekend.
In addition, we have arrested 20 people in the same six-day period on suspicion of drug driving and a further nine people of failing to provide a specimen.
Please, remember the safest thing for you to do so that you come home to your loved ones, is don’t drink and drive.
This Christmas, make their present, your presence.
“We do not want to spoil anyone’s fun this Christmas, especially after last year’s Covid lockdown" said Head of Roads Policing, Adam Pipe, ahead of the festive season's anti-drink drive campaign.
“But there are still people out there who take risks after they drink.
“They drive in the belief that they are safe to do so and that they will not be caught. It is just not true.
“Every year there are people who ignore our advice and end up spending time away from their family in a custody cell because they have been arrested for drink driving offences during December, meaning the very time they should be with their loved ones, is the very time they spend apart.”
In each of the last four years’ anti-drink drive campaigns, we arrested more than 1,200 people on suspicion of drink driving.
That’s 1,200 people that did not need to be arrested.
Mr Pipe continued:
“The consequences of drink driving can be life-changing – it could lead to you losing your licence, your career, your home. Or worse, it could cost you or someone else their life.
“It will not just affect you - it will affect your partner, your parents and your children.
“Imagine the face of your child on Christmas morning as they open their present, but you are not there.
“Your presence means the world to them, why would you not want to be there for them?
“Alcohol and driving do not mix. Do not let it ruin your festivities, leaving your loved ones at home waiting for you to be released from custody, or worse, never coming home at all.”
But, for some people, the consequences of drink-driving are to be endured.
In 2020 there were 84 collisions where someone was killed or seriously injured (KSI) where drink or drug driving was a contributing factor, six of which were fatal (7%).
Eleven (13%) of these KSI collisions happened in December.
As part of our anti-drink drive campaign, there will be additional patrols during December.
Officers will be extra vigilant, stopping anyone suspected of being over the limit in the run up to Christmas and New Year, ensuring the safety of other road users.
We would encourage residents to be mindful that you could still be over the limit the following morning - please do not take chances.
Mr Pipe said:
“Please, do not tell my officers that you thought you were safe to drive.
“Instead, do not drink and drive.
“Think of your loved ones. This Christmas, make their present, your presence.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is supporting this year’s anti-drink drive campaign. He said:
“There is no excuse for driving a vehicle if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs. You are putting not only your life but other people’s lives at risk if you do.
“Improving safety on our roads is a priority in both my Police and Crime and Fire and Rescue plans for Essex.
“More people are killed or seriously injured on our roads in Essex because of road incidents compared to other types of crime and we must do more to prevent this.”
If you suspect someone is drink or drug driving, call 101 or in an emergency call 999.
To report poor or dangerous driving offences that you have captured on dash cam, visit Extra Eyes on the Safer Essex Roads Partnership website.
You can also find out more about Vision Zero, from Safer Essex Roads Partnership and the work we are doing to reduce serious and fatal collisions across Essex.