A FESTIVE campaign has launched by the Greater Manchester Police (GMP)  to tackle the dangers of drink and drug driving.

This year’s GMP campaign is supported by Elaine, a mother from Flixton who lost her 27 year old son James in 2009. She said: “My son James lost his life in a road traffic collision where he took a lift with a young driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“That, together with his excessive speed, was the cause of the crash in which James lost his life. There are no winners in these situations. All the young people in that car will be affected for the rest of their lives.

“Neither James or myself envisaged Christmases without him.”

The operation will see GMP target drivers who risk their own lives and the lives of others, with increased road checks planned around the clock throughout December.

Last year, almost 2500 motorists were breathalysed as part of the operation, with more than 500 either returning positive test results for alcohol or drugs, or failing/refusing to take the test. Chief Inspector Traiq Butt, who leads GMP’s traffic unit, said: “People who drive under the influence of drink or drugs destroy families and ruin lives. Yet despite the warning, motorists continue to take the risk and get behind the wheel after drinking and taking drugs.

[pullquote]“We want people to enjoy themselves during the festive season but ultimately to be responsible for their actions.”[/pullquote]

“Remember too, that you could still be over the limit the next morning. Don’t take the risk. The message is clear; never drive under the influence of drink or drugs – always make it none for the road.”

Motorists caught over the limit face at least a year’s driving ban, criminal record and a fine of up to £5000.

Ben Levy, group manager for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service in Salford, is urging people to plan their lifts home carefully before going out in the lead up to Christmas. He said: “The fire and rescue service is called to far too many incidents where alcohol or drugs have been consumed by drivers. Please celebrate safely this Christmas by having a designated driver who doesn’t drink any alcohol, or by booking a taxi before going out.

“Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your judgement and turn your night out into a nightmare in a split second. If you are a passenger, remember to leave the driver to concentrate on the road and get you home safely.”

Deputy Mayor for policing and crime Beverley Hughes, said: “Drink and drug driving is never worth the risk- the consequences of it could see your life and the lives of others changed forever.

If you suspect anyone is driving under the influence of drink or drugs, contact the police immediately on 101 or 999 if they pose an immediate threat to themselves or other road users.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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