Greater Manchester Police, alongside Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), has launched this year’s drink/drug driving campaign in support of the NPCC’s enforcement campaign which will run throughout December.
The campaign – ‘Drink or Drug Driving – Never a Good Mix’ – aims to, alongside operational activity, educate the public on the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence and enforce the message that any amount of alcohol and drugs can impact your ability to drive, as well as encourage passengers to think how safe the driver is before they get into a vehicle.
The three emergency services have come together as part of the campaign to remind people to think before they get behind the wheel with drink or drugs in their system. If they are involved in a collision, that decision can have lasting consequences for not only themselves but the ones around them – their family and friends, other road-users and their loved ones. It can also mean the time and resources of all three emergency services. All of which can be avoided.
During last year’s enforcement operation, GMP arrested 261 for drink driving and 111 for drivers who tested positive for illegal drug substances. This year, there will be increased patrols of dedicated roads policing officers in hotspot areas as well as roadside checks to enforce the law, with those caught driving over the limit potentially facing a large fine and driving ban.
Chief Inspector Matt Bailey-Smith of GMP’s Safer Transport Team, said: “Drink or drug driving can have fatal consequences. More than 200 people die every year, in a drink-drive related crash.
“The restrictions in place due to the global pandemic will alter the way many celebrate during this festive season, with work parties and social gatherings affected however, this is still an important message and one that could save lives.
“More people may choose to consume alcohol in the comfort of their own homes, but it is important to remember if getting in the car to drive to work the next day or out to the shops, that you may still be over the limit.
“Christmas may be different this year, however our position on drink/drug driving remains the same – it is never a good mix and we will take action against those caught driving under the influence.
“Our message goes to drivers and potential passengers. Think before you get in the car – are you or the person driving safe to do so? Your decision can have a lasting impact on more than just your life. Involvement in a collision could kill or seriously injure you, a loved one or an innocent passer-by. It can also take the resource of all three emergency services – the police, fire service and ambulance, for an incident that could have been preventable.”
GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, Area Manager Paul Duggan, said: “Our firefighters are called to hundreds of road traffic collisions every year and all too often witness people suffering preventable life-changing injuries, or losing loved ones. We now deal with more collisions than we do house fires and continually work with our partners and charities to raise awareness of the dangers that come with using the roads in a bid to keep people safe.
“We urge you to please think about yourself and others – including the emergency services – before getting into a car after having a few drinks, or with someone else who has. Consequences of dangerous driving can last a life-time and destroy the futures of many people.”
Daniel Smith, Head of Service for Greater Manchester, said: “Whilst we encourage everyone to enjoy their Christmas, especially after the year we’ve all had, we would please ask that they do so responsibly.
“The thing about driving under the influence of drink or drugs is that it’s so avoidable: people make the choice to get behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, these split second decisions can have life-long consequences.
“As a paramedic the jobs that stick with you the most is when a family suffers life-changing injuries or a fatality as the result of a reckless driver who’s been drinking or taking drugs.”