Festive clampdown on drink and drug driving launched across North Yorkshire

Drink-driving breathalyser.
Drink-driving breathalyser.

A festive crackdown on drink and drug driving across North Yorkshire has been launched today by police.

Operation Attention will run until the new year and is aimed at keeping road users safe during party season.

Last year, five deaths and nearly 100 injuries on the county’s roads involved alcohol.

To remind people of the effects of alcohol on legal driving limits, North Yorkshire Police is highlighting research from road safety charity Brake which states that almost one in every six convicted drink drivers are caught by police in the morning, after drinking the night before.

Last year’s Christmas campaign by North Yorkshire Police led to 16 drivers being arrested between the hours of 4.30am and 9.30am for driving over the legal limit - some 11.5 percent of the total arrests made throughout the operation.

Sergeant Andy Morton, from the force’s roads policing group, said: “Every December we kick off Operation Attention with the hope that this year, the message has got through to drivers and we’ll see less instances of drink and drug driving and we’ll attend less collisions where alcohol or drugs are the cause.

“Unfortunately, in previous campaigns, our hopes are dashed early on, as we again see a number of drivers disregarding the advice and taking risks with their own safety and the safety of other road users.

“However, we remain resolute in our commitment to targeting these drivers and getting them off North Yorkshire’s roads.”

Appealing for assistance from the public, Sgt Morton added: “The public have always been a great supporter of this campaign and year on year a number of arrests are made as a direct response to the information passed to police via 101 or 999. I would again request the support of the public and encourage anyone with any information about a driver driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to contact us and let us know. By picking up the phone, you could be saving someone’s life.”

The force advises anyone who is going out drinking to leave their car keys at home and get a taxi or a bus.

Commenting on the launch of Operation Attention today, Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Many people still think that they can have some alcohol and drive. In reality, it’s not safe to drive with any alcohol in your system. With three units in an average pint of lager and up to four in a large glass of wine, it’s easy to see why people underestimate how many hours they need to wait before driving again.

“I appeal to people not to take the risk, arrange alternative transport and don’t drink and drive at all. Our road safety team meets people trying to deal with the tragic consequences of drinking and driving, both those who were driving while impaired and the innocent people involved. Please help everyone to stay safe on the roads this winter.”

Brake recommends allowing an hour to absorb an alcoholic drink and at least one hour for each unit consumed to leave your system. The charity offers a morning-after calculator on its website.