Keep Our Roads Safe This Christmas

This Christmas police will be targeting drivers who risk their lives and the lives of others by driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Led by Gwent Police on behalf of the four Welsh police forces, the month-long campaign will run from 1st December 2015 to 1st January 2016.

Last year in Gwynedd a total of 15,627  motorists took part in the campaign, with 76 returning either positive results or failing/refusing to take the breath test.

Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said: “We are committed to making the roads in Wales safer and year on year we raise awareness of the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs through campaigns such as this one.

"Christmas and New Year are a time for enjoyment and social events, and whilst I would encourage everyone to have a good time, it is important to reiterate our key message; if you drink, don’t drive and if you drive, don’t drink – it’s that simple!

“In March this year new legislation was introduced that set legal limits for how much of a substance – both illegal drugs and prescription medication, motorists can have in their system whilst driving. Officers now carry the drug swipe kit which is used at the side of the road to test drivers’ saliva. This means we are better equipped than ever to detect and penalise those who take this very dangerous risk.

“Using intelligence received from the public we’ll be ready for action to keep the road network safe, whether it be at night or the morning after.”

In 2012 North Wales Police’ launched Operation Sodium, a campaign that targets drink and drug driving. Since its start there have been zero deaths on the roads over the Christmas and New Year period.

C.I Wareing added: “A fatality on our roads is devastating. Truly devastating. The loved ones of those killed never get over it and the impact of the loss is immense. It’s a terrible and traumatic experience for everybody concerned. Although Operation Sodium runs all year; the risks of being involved in a collision where the driver is under the influence of drink/drugs increases significantly at this time of year.

“The overwhelming feedback we get from our communities during this campaign is one of full support. North Wales Police are fully committed to help make the roads safer for all and will continue to target those who endanger their own lives and the lives of others. Please heed the warning.”

Chair of Road Safety Wales Susan Storch said; “Road Safety Wales partners are committed to educating people about the consequences of impairment, and fully support the police during this seasonal campaign and throughout the year.”

Colin Jones, Chair of the Gwynedd-Mon Road Safety Partnership said “It is important to remember that a drink you enjoy in the evening can leave you over the limit when driving your car the next morning as alcohol stays in the system for many hours after you stop drinking”.

"My advice is that if you’re expecting to drink alcohol during the Christmas holiday, plan how to get home without driving. Don’t offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive and don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has drunk alcohol.”

“People also need to be aware that they could still be over the limit the morning after the night before. You might feel fine, but you could still have alcohol in your system that could impair your driving.

“We and our partners are determined to make our roads safer and our Road Safety Officers will visiting key areas in Gwynedd and Anglesey, issuing advice and key messages to members of the public about the dangers and consequences of driving whilst under the influence of drink and drugs.

Mr. Jones continued, "we would urge people to call 101 if they have any information about somebody getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs – your action could save lives"

“Choosing to drive when impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is dangerous and unacceptable. Drivers should be under no illusion if they get behind the wheel whilst under the influence they not only risk their licence, getting a fine and even a prison sentence, but they are risking lives too.”
“Drivers need to be aware that regardless of the time of day they are caught, whether they are going to work or taking children to school, they will face the same penalties as someone who has chosen to drink heavily in a pub and driven at night. Our message is clear - never drive under the influence of drink or drugs, even the morning after.”

If you suspect someone is driving while unfit to do so, please report it immediately to police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing imminent danger) or phone it through anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.