Police blitz on drink and drug drivers

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Police are testing for cocaine, cannabis and alcohol in roadside tests – and recounting the sad story of teenager who lost his life – as part of the annual festive crackdown on drink and drug driving.

The blitz on drivers will carry one throughout December, and, as the party season approaches, they are emphasising particularly to younger drivers, that they could well be still over the limit in the morning because drink and drugs stay in the body for many hours.

Traffic police are desperate to avoid repeating the tragic fate of 18-year-old Matthew Alston who was killed on the morning of Saturday, August 14th, 2010, in Read. His story is a devastating reminder that people can still be over the drink-drive limit the morning after. He was over the limit after drinking at a party at home. One unit of alcohol takes approximately one hour to leave the body, so a night out could leave somebody with alcohol in their body for more than 24 hours.

Road Policing Unit Insp. Andy Trotter said: “This Christmas is the first year we will be using the new drug-testing kits alongside standard kits for alcohol testing, which means we are better equipped than ever to identify those who take this very dangerous risk.”

The saliva test is modelled on the drink-driving test and follows a new law introduced in March.

“We are also focusing our activity on late night revellers, “ said Insp. Trotter. “They may still be over the limit the morning after and we are particularly keen to get the message across young drivers, who may be tempted to take the risk.

“If you drive at twice the legal alcohol limit you are at least 30 times more likely to cause a road traffic collision than a driver who hasn’t been drinking, potentially resulting in serious injury or death. A conviction could also mean that you lose your job, home, family and friends. The consequences can be absolutely devastating.”

Last December police carried out 5,012 drink drive tests in Lancashire. Four people refused to co-operate and 153 people failed the test – a failure rate of 3.1%.

Added Insp. Trotter: “We are determined to keep our roads safe, whether that is at night or the morning after and we will be working throughout the festive period to keep the public safe. We want people to enjoy themselves but to remember the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“If you’re out partying this Christmas then please plan ahead and book a taxi, check public transport times or don’t drink. If you know of someone who is driving under the influence of drink or drugs then please do the right thing and call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously before they kill themselves, or somebody else.”