Young motorists “at risk” as Christmas drink driving begins, says police

Written by Lucy Edwards

Police have urged drivers not to “blow it this Christmas” as part of their latest crackdown on drink and drug driving. 

The programme, delivered by South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, takes place annually across a four-week period.

This year’s edition is running alongside Safer Roads Partnership’s new campaign #NoneForTheRoad. 

Young people in particular are being warned to think before they drive. 

Safer Roads manager Joanne Wehrle said: “Our casualty data is saying that our 17-24 year olds are more at risk and involved more in road traffic collisions, be that as drivers, car users, passengers and riders.

“So they’re the age group that we’re trying to target for the majority of the year really, but also as part of the drink drive campaign.”

She continued: “Every year we have new drivers coming through, so we have a new cohort that we need to educate. Numbers are going in the right direction, but there’s still more we need to do because of the new drivers coming on all the time.”

Throughout December, the police will be carrying out roadside stop sites and pulling drivers aside if they are suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Drivers caught intoxicated behind the wheel can expect to face six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a driving ban for at least one year. 

Part of SYSRP’s campaigning has included a move over to TikTok, where the organisation is keen to target the young people who are statistically most at risk. 

@sysaferroadsThe best present you can give to your loved ones is staying safe this ##christmas If you’re having a drink – leave the car at home ##nonefortheroad♬ All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

During last year’s December crackdown, 764 drivers were breathalysed when stopped by officers. Of these, 75 were found to be over the drink drive limit. 

Additionally, 397 drivers were tested for cannabis and cocaine across Yorkshire and Humberside and 63 or these tested positive. 

However, due to the Christmas lockdown last year, less people were driving so these numbers were lower than previous years.

But every year in the UK, 200 people lose their lives and 9,000 people are injured in a drink-drive related collision. 

Research has also found that drivers are six times more likely to be involved in a collision if they set off after having a drink, even if within the legal limit.

Superintendent Lydia Lynskey, South Yorkshire Police’s lead for the Operational Support Unit, said: “There is no way to know how fast your body will process alcohol and everyone is different. Please think before you get in a car. Is it really worth it?

She continued: “We wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas.”

Written by Lucy Edwards

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