THIS year so far 73 collisions have occurred in Greater Manchester alone due to drink driving to raise awareness Greater Manchester Police force running a Christmas drink and drug drive operation, which is running through December.
The campaign is to reinforce their ‘none for the road’ message to urge drivers not to risk drinking alcohol and attempting to drive.
Out of the 73 drink drive accidents 16 have resulted in serious injury and two have resulted in death. The police have also dealt with 216 drug drivers this year alone.
Inspector Susan Redfern from GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “The consequences of drink and drug driving are well documented but sadly we know a small minority of people will ignore this advice and put lives at risk by driving under the influence.
“Tackling this type of crime remains a priority for police as we enter the festive season but we also need the public to help us by taking greater responsibility for their own behaviour and challenging others.”
Police are able to breathalyse drivers who are involved in accidents, or who they believe are driving over the limit.
Earlier this year legislation was brought in making it easier for officers to process drug drivers using a roadside drug testing kit, which can check for cannabis or cocaine using a saliva sample.
Inspector Redfern added: “New legislation and kit has made it easier to catch drug drivers and rest assured we’ll be making every use of it as we embark on one of our busiest periods.
Steve Hynes, Greater Manchester Head of Service, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “The festive season is always an extremely busy time for all emergency services,
“Our staff see first-hand the devastating effect alcohol and drug related incidents can cause, and in some instances, they result in an avoidable death.
“Ultimately, we want people to have a safe, enjoyable festive season but that can all change very quickly, so please consider your actions as the implications may be life-changing.”
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offence and can lead to a 12 month driving ban or imprisonment.
Scott Slinger, 24, from Rochdale lost his license two years ago at Christmas for drink driving, he said: “It’s not worth it, it was the biggest mistake of my life and I can’t even tell you how much it effects your life,
“You can’t even nip to the shop, it takes all your freedom away. It’s also just really selfish, what happens if you hit somebody and kill somebody, it’s not just yourself you could hurt you could end up hurting someone else.”
However, many people still decide to chance it and have a couple of drinks believing they are okay to drive.
Once you have more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in your system then you’re over the limit, some people believe that this means they can operate a vehicle after one drink.
Police Constable Martin Wildman, 41, from Rochdale said: “It all depends on your tolerance to alcohol, and your body weight. Some people can still be over the limit the next day.
“My advice is just don’t do it. It’s not worth it and if you drink the night before wait a while before getting in your car the next day as the alcohol can still be in your blood.”
According to national statistics from drink driving facts on average 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year across the UK in drink drive collisions.
By Sophie Flint and Emma Crampton