STOP AND THINK: DON’T DRINK OR DRUG DRIVE

Stock Photo: Early morning operation

A drink and drug driving campaign to target irresponsible and dangerous drivers begins today (Dec 1) in a bid to drive down fatal and serious road traffic collisions and protect other road users.

The national campaign, co-ordinated through the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) will run across the county throughout December.

Insp Mat Derrick, from the force’s tactical support department, said: “We always carry out tests throughout the year on anyone involved in a road traffic collision that we attend or anyone who is suspected of drink or drug driving.

“During this campaign we will also be generally stopping motorists and carrying out tests. These operations will not just be at night, they will also be run in the mornings and throughout the day. Mistakenly people think after a night of drinking or using drugs that if they have slept or have eaten they are fit to drive. If you drink or drug and drive then there is a high likelihood that you will be caught.”

As part of the campaign people are encouraged to view a hard-hitting video on the force’s YouTube channel http://youtu.be/n-vEGCbVhas of a motorist who narrowly escaped death after driving under the influence of alcohol.

After a night out Harrison King drove at speed through the centre of Uttoxeter, collided into a house and railings, from which a metal pole crashed through his windscreen. A severe wound to the side of his head was one of a catalogue of injuries he suffered, requiring him to be put into an induced coma. He suffered a broken cheekbone, nerve and ear damage making it difficult for him to walk and sleep for a while.

An officer on patrol in the town witnessed the whole incident. PC Jason Hughes saw Harrison speed by just moments before the crash and rescued him from the burning car. He said: “Harrison narrowly missed a van coming in the opposite direction. He was extremely lucky he didn’t lose his life or kill anyone.”

Convicted of drunk driving, Harrison was banned from driving, had to pay court costs and carry out community service.

Coming forward to help discourage anyone from making the same mistake, Harrison said: “Use me as a learning curve. Please don’t take the risk of drinking and driving. A drink is not worth badly injuring or killing someone and putting families through untold misery.”

Insp Derrick continued: “We urge people to ‘Stop & Think’, to plan how they will get home before a night out – whether to not drink, decide on a designated driver, or pre-book a taxi.

“What happened to Harrison was because he hadn’t made those plans. Thankfully he survived and didn’t harm anyone else but the next person to take the wheel under the influence or alcohol or drugs may not be so lucky.

“Drinking or drug driving is not only irresponsible and against the law, the consequences wrecks lives and families. That family could be yours.”

If you have concerns about anyone you believe drives whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, please contact police on 101. Alternatively, contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at

www.crimestoppers-uk.org.